GOP State Senator Was Driving During Zoom Call The Same Day As Distracted Driving Bill Introduced

Illustration for article titled GOP State Senator Was Driving During Zoom Call The Same Day As Distracted Driving Bill Introduced
Screenshot: The Ohio Channel

One of the only fun things about the COVID-19 pandemic has been the amount of hilarious Zoom meeting fails popping up all over the internet. Earlier this year, we had the Michigan man appear in traffic court over a driving on a suspended license charge from a driver’s seat. Not to be out done by his northern neighbor, an Ohio state senator showed up for a Zoom meeting while driving on the same day the Ohio house took up a distracted driving bill.

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State Sen. Andrew Brenner was calling in for a meeting of the Ohio Controlling Board from what was clearly his car. He used a Zoom background to make it look like he was in his home office, but the seatbelt across his chest is kinda a dead giveaway. The Columbus Dispatch caught up with Brenner to ask what the deal was:

“I wasn’t distracted. I was paying attention to the driving and listening to it (the meeting,)“ Brenner said. “I had two meetings that were back to back that were in separate locations. And I’ve actually been on other calls, numerous calls, while driving. Phone calls for the most part but on video calls, I’m not paying attention to the video. To me, it’s like a phone call.”

He added that he was parked during most of the video meeting of the Ohio Controlling Board. “I was wearing a seat belt and paying attention to the road.”

It’s not a good look for Brenner. He was either paying attention to the road, or paying attention to the people’s business (which is his job) you can’t really be doing both adequately. This unfortunate scene played out on the same day that the Ohio legislature took up House Bill 283, which would ban all texting, viewing videos, taking pictures and, of course, live streaming or using phone applications while driving in the state. It makes holding a phone while driving a primary offense, meaning Ohio police can pull you over if they see a phone in a driver’s hand. Right now, it’s only a secondary offense and not a reason for a traffic stop. Similar bills have been introduce in Ohio the Dispatch reports, only to die in committee.

Between 2016 and 2020, Ohio saw 66,181 crashes where one of the driver’s were distracted, resulting in 212 deaths, according to the Ohio State Patrol. If you’re doing anything other than paying attention to the road while driving, you are distracted, plain and simple.

 

Managing Editor of Jalopnik.

DISCUSSION

derbagley
Andrew

Is he for the bill or against it?

I've had my phone in a mount on a Zoom call. I'm not watching the video, but others are tied in. Zoom actually has a decent in car feature to limit its distraction. This is probably much closer to a cell phone call than a watching YouTube situation.