Akron City Council is continuing to weigh their options when it comes to the proposed texting ban.
Ward 5 Councilman Ken Jones says both he and at-large Councilman Jeff Fusco looked at ways to improve the legislation before it gets passed.
"We actually came with legislation similar to the State's, but with some other components that we thought would benefit the community," he said.
Council is looking at making texting while driving a secondary offense for adults over 18 instead of a primary offense. It would still be a primary offense for juveniles, similar to the State's position. Also added will be an educational component to let drivers know that when you text and drive, you are risking the safety of not only yourself, but others around you.
The proposal was discussed in committee meetings Monday afternoon before the regularly scheduled Council meeting that evening.
Jones says that by educating drivers about the dangers of texting and driving, it will benefit the citizens of Akron.
"We wanted to add an educational component because we wanted to increase public awareness about the how dangerous it is to text and drive."
Jones says the Akron Police Department has a lot more pressing issues on their plate than enforcing a texting ban.
"I think what we did was fair, and we felt it was important to come up with legislation consistent with what the community wants."
At-large Councilman Mike Williams said he was comfortable with the proposed legislation, saying the main agenda is and will continue to be public safety for all motorists.
"The statistics and information out there makes it very clear that when a driver is texting and driving, that means they are impaired, similar to be under the influence of alcohol in terms of your awareness of the roads," he said.
Williams said he was thankful to hear from residents who voiced their opinion about the issue during the public comment period of the meeting.
"As a legislature, we encourage discussion and thoughtfulness and that's what we want."
Both Councilman Williams and Ward 7's Donnie Kammer introduced legislation in January making texting while driving a primary offense for drivers of all ages.
Kammer said that it was beneficial for the council members to take time on this issue.
"I'm glad that Jones and Fusco brought this to the table, we're going to take time on it and see what happens," Kammer explained.
Darian Johnson, President of Youth Affairs for the Akron NAACP said the organization was thankful for the Council body taking time to look at the issue.
"It gives people an opportunity to look at the text messaging laws and get educated on how and why its harmful for one, and it also gives the community a chance to build on its relationship with the police department," he said.
"They took a more logical standpoint on this issue, and I feel everyone should have the opportunity to learn about our laws."