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Gov. DeWine seeking to strengthen Ohio's distracted driving laws

DeWine says there have been roughly 80,000 distracted driving crashes in the state since 2013.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike Dewine is looking to enhance distracted driving laws so that it would become a primary offense, which means not paying attention behind the wheel can get you pulled over. 

Distracted driving accidents are continuing to rise, causing thousands of crashes across the state each year. 

"Since 2013 there have been around 80,000 crashes involving distracted driving in the State of Ohio—at least that’s the number we’re aware of," Dewine said. 

In those crashes 268 people died. 

The data was compiled by the state’s Distracted Driving Taskforce. Becasue of it, DeWine wants to see laws that treat those drivers like those who decide to drive drunk. 

DeWine specifically is recommending a “hands-free” law, meaning drivers shouldn’t touch their phones, tablets, or smart watches at all while behind the wheel. We found many who would have been in violation of that just today—bad decisions, according to driving experts, but a change in the law and increase in fines, may change their minds. 

"We should not think of distracted driving crashes as accidents," DeWine said. "Distracted driving as we know is truly a choice,"