Texting while driving could cost you in Avon

AVON, OH (WOIO) - Between texting, tweeting, emailing and Instagramming, people's faces are always in their phones and many aren't putting them down when they get behind the wheel.

"You can just go out over here to 83 and Detroit Road and you'll see people, one after the other. Go to any community. It's happening everywhere," said Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen.

Jensen sees distracted drivers every day and he knows the dangers. Avon police reported a 20 percent increase in car crashes over the last few years and they believe phones are to blame.

"A lot of the young adults are getting so used to using their phones for everything they do in life, it's just a natural arm of driving and using your phone," Jensen said.

Avon City Council plans to pass legislation that targets drivers using their phones.

Currently in Avon, texting and driving is a secondary offense, which means drivers can only get ticketed if they're pulled over for a different reason, like speeding or being involved in an accident.

Newly proposed legislation would make it a primary offense. Drivers can also be ticketed if caught on their phones while stopped at red lights.

"If an officer looks over and sees you texting and driving, he can give you a ticket," Jensen said.

Many people in Avon support the idea and said they want people to focus on the road.

"I'll hold my phone up and signal to them, hey, put your phone down," said Kelly Ilg.

"It's common sense. It's dangerous.  Something can easily happen, it's something people need to realize," said Cooper Ilg.

However, people weren't sure legislation would get drivers to change their habits.

"They'll keep doing it, I imagine, until they get caught that first time, then maybe they'll get some sense about it," said Kelly.

City council members debated voting on the legislation Monday night, but decided to send it to a second reading. Mayor Jensen said he is confident council will pass the legislation.

Legislation will into effect 30 days after a vote. There will be another 30 day warning period after that.

Once the grace period is over, drivers caught on their phones in Avon may be ticketed up to $150 bucks.

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