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Saturday, September 18, 2021

PSA: Don’t drive while you are on a Zoom meeting talking about a distracted driving bill

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Who among us has not tried during the pandemic to conceal the background of our home offices during a Zoom call for work— lest we reveal a messy bedroom, or get ragged on by RoomRater?

For Republican state Sen. Andrew Brenner of Ohio, the green screen betrayed him during a video call this week, making it clear he was driving a car even though his background image showed what looked like a home office. That wouldn’t have been a big deal except Brenner was in a meeting of the Ohio Controlling Board, where the agenda included discussion of a bill to curb distracted driving.

One could argue that a video call might be a significant distraction while driving.

Brenner told the Columbus Dispatch he was parked for most of the video call, was not distracted, and was listening to the meeting. He also noted he was wearing his seat belt and paying attention to the road while he was driving. But as Gizmodo points out, throughout the video Brenner turns his camera on and off, and continually adjusts the background as if he’s not happy with how it looks.

Under Ohio House Bill 283, writing, texting, watching videos, taking photos, live streaming and using apps would all be prohibited. Hands-free and voice-operated device is would be allowed, and there’s an exception for emergencies.

At the very least, Brenner adhered to Ohio’s seat belt law. Maybe for the next meeting he should keep it in park.

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