OH GOP Sen. Attended Video Call While Driving On Same Day His Colleagues Introduced Distracted Driving Bill

(Screenshot: The Ohio Channel livestream of Ohio Controlling Board's video meeting on May 3, 2021. State Sen. Andrew Brenner is seen on the middle right)
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May 4, 2021 11:11 a.m.

Ohio state Sen. Andrew Brenner (R) was on a video conference call while he was driving on Monday — the same day his Republican colleagues introduced a bill on distracted driving while using electronic devices in his state’s legislature.

Brenner told the Columbus Dispatch he was “paying attention to the driving” while “listening” to the meeting, which was being held by the Ohio Controlling Board.

“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,” the Republican senator said. “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.”

Brenner also claimed he was parked for most of the meeting and was wearing a seatbelt.

However, the Ohio Channel’s video of the nearly 13-minute meeting shows that the lawmaker was already driving by at least the 3:37 timestamp, when he put up a visibly fake background of a living room even though viewers could still see objects flying past his car windows every time he shifted.

That was the same day Ohio state Reps. Cindy Abrams (R) and Brian E. Lampton (R) unveiled a bill in the General Assembly banning the use of wireless communication devices while driving.

Under the bill, “[n]o person shall drive operate a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using, holding, or physically supporting with any part of the person’s body an electronic wireless communications device.”

Offenders can be slapped with a fine of up to $150, which may be waived if they attend and “successfully complete” a safety course on distracted driving.

Incidentally, Brenner’s bio on the Senate’s website states that the Republican recently earned a Master’s degree in education “with an emphasis in Leadership” at Liberty University, which is in the middle of battling a few, uh, problems with its former leadership at the moment.

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