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Council takes on distracted driving

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At their March 19 meeting, Village Council members had an initial dialogue on a proposed local law to ban texting while driving. The item was discussion only, although Council plans to vote on an ordinance at its April 2 meeting.

The proposed ordinance would only prohibit texting while driving, and at this stage does not address other factors around distracted driving, such as cell phone use, according to Interim Village Manager Laura Curliss. However, its narrow focus would “be a good first step” in trying to address distracted driving in the village, she said.

Council was responding to a request several weeks ago from Jaye Drummond, whose 5-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident last summer when the family car was plowed into from behind by a car whose driver appeared to have been texting. At that meeting, Council members had expressed interest in pursuing a texting while driving ban, and asked Police Chief John Grote to research laws in other communities. The ordinance that Curliss proposed is based on one passed in Kettering.

The proposed ordinance would be a secondary rather than a primary law, which means that a driver could not be pulled over based on texting alone, but if pulled over for another reason, could be cited for texting.

The proposed law didn’t go far enough for Rick Walkey.

“This barely scratches the surface,” he said of the proposed ordinance. “This one seems gutted with exceptions. I’d like to take a bigger step.”

However, enforcing a broader ban on distracted driving at this time could be more difficult in Ohio, where the legislature has dragged its feet in addressing the issue, according to Grote, who encouraged Council to move forward with the texting ban as a first step.

In other Council business:

• Council members voted 4–0 to approve an engineering study for the replacement of water and sewer lines on Railroad Street, with Karen Wintrow recusing herself from the vote.

• Council voted 5–0 on an engineering study for water and sewer line replacement for the Xenia Avenue/Kahoe Lane area.

• Council voted 4–0 on an engineering study for water line replacement in the Fairacres neighborhood, with Judith Hempfling recusing herself.

• Council voted 5–0 on a resolution that supports an agreement between the Village and the Greene County engineer for a cooperative paving program.

• Tom Clevenger presented the annual report of the Environmental Commission.

• Doug Hood of Efficiency Smart, a program to help promote energy efficiency, presented information about his program, which was selected by AMP to promote energy efficiency in the village. The program includes rebates to residences that reduce their energy use. More information can be found online at

“There’s a lot of opportunity here,” Hood said. “It’s a matter of getting the word out.”

Council will meet next at a regular meeting at 7 p.m. on April 2 in Council chambers.


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