An Ohio state senator used a virtual background to appear like he was home during an online government meeting – when he was actually driving his car, videos were posted online in videos.
Senator Andrew Brenner picked the worst time to hit the road – that same day, his colleagues at the State House introduced a bill to “ban driving while in use [an] electronic communication device. “
The Republican, who served his first term in the Senate, clearly started the Controlling Board meeting Monday in the driver’s seat of a car, then leaned over and then turned off his camera.
When he got back in, the car was still clearly in view – before suddenly switching to an awkward virtual background to look like it was in a home office.
After another brief time out of camera, the Brenner reappeared – he was buckled up and looking in both directions as he clearly drove off.
The footage shows a blur around his head showing the road around him, although the rest of the image is a home scene.
None of the other senators said anything about their colleague, who wears a seat belt and for the most part stares attentively forward and only occasionally looks at the camera, though some couldn’t hide a smile.
Brenner later admitted to Columbus Dispatch that he was driving during the meeting, but insisted that he be “not distracted”.
“I was wearing a seat belt and paying attention to the road,” he told the newspaper.
“I was paying attention to the driving and listening,” he said, blaming “two meetings that were held in a row in different locations.”
“I actually made other calls while I was driving, numerous calls,” he revealed.
“Phone calls for the most part, but I don’t pay attention to the video on video calls. It’s like a phone call to me,” he said.
House Bill 283, introduced on Monday, calls for a ban on writing, sending or reading texts, watching videos or taking photos, live streaming and using applications while driving.
It would also make holding or using an electronic device while driving a primary criminal offense that would allow police to overtake the driver.
However, previous efforts to tighten distracted driving laws have not received the required votes, the sales outlet said.