US politician caught using fake Zoom background while driving on same day distracted driving bill introduced

A US Senator has been caught using a fake background during a Zoom meeting which masked the fact he was driving on the same day a bill was introduced in the state which aimed to crack down on distracted driving.

When Ohio State Senator Andrew Brenner dialled into the meeting for the Ohio Controlling Board on Monday he was seen sitting in a parked car.

But then footage of the meeting, which was streamed live, showed Brenner disappearing for a moment and when he returned his background appeared to show him in a home office, surrounded by cabinets and with art hanging on the walls.

However, the seat belt strapped across his chest and blurred outline gave it away that he was instead using a fake background while still in his car.

During the meeting, he goes on to drive and is seen checking for oncoming traffic.

Andrew Brenner.
Andrew Brenner. Photo credit: The Ohio Channel

The New York Times reported the meeting occurred on the same day a distracted-driving bill was introduced in the state's House of Representatives.

The bill would explicitly ban texting, live-streaming, photo taking and the use of mobile apps while driving.

After the meeting, Brenner defended his driving to The Columbus Dispatch, saying he "wasn't distracted" and was "paying attention to the driving and listening to" the discussion.

"I had two meetings that were back-to-back that were in separate locations," he told The Dispatch. "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."

Footage of the incident has been widely shared online with commenters calling the meeting "ridiculous" and "unacceptable".

"I also regularly use a seatbelt in my home office," one person said.

Another commented: "I hope he was held accountable. That is unacceptable".