Home News  Ohio Legislature Considers Crackdown on Reckless Driving with House Bill 56

 Ohio Legislature Considers Crackdown on Reckless Driving with House Bill 56

Traffic Ticket Police Vehicle - A police cruiser with the lights flashing has stopped a speeding car along the interstate highway and is issuing a ticket.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A proposal aimed at curbing reckless driving behavior on Ohio’s roadways is currently winding its way through the state legislature. House Bill 56 (HB 56), sponsored by Representative Phil Plummer, seeks to tighten regulations and stiffen penalties for specific traffic violations.

The crux of HB 56 lies in its expansion of the definition of “street racing” to encompass a broader range of dangerous driving maneuvers. Under the proposed legislation, activities such as donuts, burnouts, drifting, wheelies, and tire-squealing on public roads would be classified as “stunt driving” and subject to enhanced penalties. This expansion aims to address a growing concern over motorists engaging in these reckless and often exhibitionist driving behaviors, which pose a significant safety risk to themselves and others.

Furthermore, HB 56 proposes a more stringent approach towards drivers who flee law enforcement in motor vehicles. The bill outlines increased penalties for those who attempt to evade police, particularly after committing felonies. This measure seeks to deter motorists from engaging in potentially dangerous pursuits that endanger not only law enforcement officers but also innocent bystanders.

The bill was met with a favorable response within the Ohio House of Representatives, securing passage on December 13th, 2023. Following this initial hurdle, HB 56 was forwarded to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further consideration on January 24th, 2024. As of March 9th, 2024, the bill remains under review by the Senate committee, and its ultimate fate – whether it will be amended, passed as is, or ultimately shelved – is yet to be determined.

Advocates of HB 56 applaud its focus on improving public safety on Ohio’s roads. They argue that the stricter penalties for both “stunt driving” and fleeing from law enforcement will serve as a deterrent and ultimately reduce the number of accidents and fatalities stemming from reckless driving behavior.

Opponents of the bill, however, raise concerns about the potential for overreach and the possible infringement on individual liberties. They argue that the definition of “stunt driving” may be overly broad and could lead to the targeting of innocent motorists for harmless acts.

The ongoing debate surrounding HB 56 highlights the delicate balance between ensuring public safety and protecting individual rights. As the bill continues its journey through the legislative process, Ohio residents will be keenly awaiting its ultimate fate and the potential impact it may have on driving behavior and safety across the state.