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MANTUA, Ohio (CBS Local)
— A major crackdown on distracted drivers in a small town in northeast Ohio is going well beyond the usual ban on texting-while-driving.

Starting Dec. 20, drivers in the Village of Mantua can also be cited by police if they are holding an animal or being distracted by an animal while they are behind the wheel.

It’s part of a comprehensive new law that targets distracted drivers. Writing, sending or reading a text will also be against the law.

Mayor Linda Clark defends the pet provision in the new law.

“It’s going to create issues when you’re trying to turn or if a dog sees something and they move around that they could obstruct your vision, so it’s a matter of keeping the animal safe as well as the driver,” she told WJW.

A first offense is a minor misdemeanor. A second offense within one year or any offense that causes a traffic accident would be a misdemeanor of the third degree, according to a Facebook post by Mantua police.

“The use of a cellular device to make a telephone call or in conjunction with a hands free or blue tooth device is not against the law,” Mantua police said.

Each day in the U.S., approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.