Andrew Brenner, a Republican, attended the virtual meeting on Zoom the same day that his colleagues introduced a bill to punish distracted drivers. The Senator had put an image of a home office as his background in an effort to conceal his actual whereabouts – a car.
Mr Brenner was given away when those on the call noticed the seatbelt strapped across his chest.
Speaking to The Columbus Dispatch, the politician said: “I wasn’t distracted.
“I was paying attention to the driving and listening to it (the meeting).
“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.
“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.”
The Controlling Board meeting took place on May 3 and started with Mr Brenner seen sitting in a car wearing his seatbelt.
A few minutes in, the Senator’s backdrop changed to one that resembled a home office.
The background was seen visibly moving behind Mr Brenner, with it becoming increasingly obvious that he was driving at the same time as being on the call.
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In a press statement, he said: “Ohio’s current laws don’t go far enough to change the culture around distracted driving, and people are dying because of it.
“Distracted driving is a choice that must be as culturally unacceptable as drunk driving is today, and strengthening our current laws will lead to more responsible driving.”
According to data from the US department of transport, 3,142 Americans were killed because of distracted driving in 2019.