- Associated Press - Friday, September 10, 2010

CINCINNATI (AP) - City Council members in Cincinnati on Thursday approved an ordinance banning the sending, reading or writing of text messages while driving.

The ordinance adopted Thursday by Cincinnati’s city council in an 8-1 vote also bans accessing the Internet while driving. Other Ohio cities _ including Toledo, Columbus and Cleveland _ have similar bans, and state lawmakers are debating a statewide texting ban.

Legislation passed the Ohio House of Representatives in March, and a similar bill has been introduced in the Senate.

Cincinnati’s ban is expected to take effect in 30 days, and drivers could be pulled over and fined $100 for the misdemeanor offense. The ordinance does not prohibit drivers from talking on a cell phone while driving. They also can enter information into a GPS navigational system, as long as the vehicle is stopped and not in the traffic flow.

The Governors Highway Safety Association encourages state bans and says 30 states, along with the District of Columbia and Guam, currently ban text messaging for all drivers.

The Washington, D.C.-based group does not encourage city bans.

“It’s difficult for cities to enforce the bans, and they often don’t have much money for road signs or other public education,” said Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the nonprofit safety group.