Parma Heights City Council bans texting while driving, smoking in certain areas of parks

PARMA HEIGHTS, Ohio - Bills banning texting while driving, as well as smoking in certain areas of parks, have passed in Parma Heights.

City council members recently gave the green light to the ban on using handheld electronic devices to send a text message while driving.

The Parma Heights bill mirrors Ohio's statewide texting ban, except that it goes into effect upon signature. It makes texting while driving a secondary offense for adults, but a primary offense for teen drivers.

Ohio's statewide texting ban goes into effect Aug. 30.

Parma Heights joins a handful of other cities to enact such a law. Beachwood most recently banned the handheld devices use while driving. Brooklyn, North Olmsted, North Royalton, South Euclid, Walton Hills and Woodmere already have similar bans in effect.

Council members in Parma Heights also passed a bill designating non-smoking and tobacco-free zones in parks and near playgrounds. Signs will be posted at the city-owned parks about the "no smoking" rule and will be in effect also during athletic events at the parks.

Ward 4 councilwoman Marie Gallo opposed the ordinance, stating the "be courteous" signs already in place are doing the job. Gallo said the recreation director has never received any smoking complaints and she feels this was "really a non-issue."

Parma Heights City Council members passed both ordinances at their June 11 meeting.

On the Web: Parma Heights City Council http://bit.ly/NHdqrE

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