Hilliard City Council members voted unanimously Monday night to ban texting while driving in the city.

Hilliard City Council members voted unanimously Monday night to ban texting while driving in the city.

The 6-0 vote (council member James Ashmenhurst was absent) prohibits " the use of a mobile communication device inside a motor vehicle to compose, send, or read a text message while driving."

Director of law and public safety Pam Fox said the ordinance is "substantially similar" to texting bans already in place in Columbus, Bexley and several other Ohio cities.

Anyone found guilty of violating the new ordinance will be charged with a minor misdemeanor. The fine is $150.

According to the legislation, in 2008 alone, nearly 6,000 people were killed in accidents where distracted driving was involved including texting while driving.

"It has become universally accepted that texting while driving puts people's lives at risk," council president Brett Sciotto said. "It is my hope that our ordinance, along with the many others being passed in central Ohio, will compel our state legislators to act."

In other action Monday night, three-term city council member William Uttley returned to council following an oath of office ceremony conducted by Judge Charles Schneider.

"Bill has been an active, positive force in a lot of the great accomplishments that have taken place in Hilliard in the past and I'm confident that with his new term here, he will continue to be an active, positive force for Hilliard," Schneider said.

Uttley replaces former council member Dan Nichter, who resigned after being indicted on bad check charges by a Franklin County grand jury.

Uttley did not seek re-election in November 2009 because of term limits. In that same election, voters approved changes to the city charter that included the removal of term limits.