Worthington Considers Drivers Texting Ban

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The city of Worthington will consider banning text messaging by drivers at its council meeting Monday night.

The ordinance would prohibit drivers from text messaging or using cell phones to surf the web. Worthington spokeswoman Ann Brown says the proposed ordinance was drawn up by the city’s legal department to safeguard the users of city streets.

“Primarily we see this as a safety issue,” Brown says. “We want to make sure that all people who drive, walk, ride their bikes, and travel through the city of Worthington in any way are safe from distracted drivers.” One member of the seven-member Worthington city council says he thinks the proposed ordinance doesn’t go far enough. Dave Norstrom is quoted as saying the use of cell phones should be banned entirely while driving.

Two months ago New Albany passed a ban on texting. Police Chief Mark Chaney says it’s unlikely that the village would ban talking on cell phones while driving. But Chaney says texting is a different matter.

“The problems that I think have made texting and e-mailing a specific problem is that people’s heads are down, in their laps, or off to the sides, in their right or left hand that’s holding the device. And they’re not looking up through the windshield and they’re not looking at the traffic ahead, and they’re not paying attention to what they’re doing,” Chaney says.

Under the Worthington ordinance, the fine for a first offense would be $150.