New Ohio Distracted Driving Law: What You Need to Know
On April 4, the distracted driving law was introduced, which meant drivers were not allowed to use their cell phone devices while driving, but police officers were told to only give warnings to people when they are spotted doing this. As of October 5, the law will now be enforced more strictly as drivers can actually be cited and charged for distracted driving instead of just being warned.
There are also some exceptions to this new law. Drivers can still talk on the phone as long as it doesn’t require them to tap or swipe on the phone to answer. Drivers can also still use cell phones while stopped at a red light or when parked on a highway or road. Finally, drivers are still allowed to use their cell phones if it is to report an accident or request for authorities or paramedics. Something very important to note is that these exceptions only apply to drivers over the age of 18. Underage drivers are not allowed to use their cell phones at all, even if it is a hands-free use.
Cell phones can still be used through speakerphones, headphones, or connected to the car via Bluetooth to do things like calls, listen to an audiobook, or listen to music. This applies as long as the call or audio is started before the car takes off and the cell phone is not touched while driving.
Drivers can be penalized for distracted driving in the following ways. If stopped as a first offense, the driver receives two points on their driver’s license and has to pay a fine of up to $150. If stopped for a second offense, the driver receives three points on their license and is subject to pay a fine of up to $250. Finally, if stopped for a third offense or more, the driver receives four points on their license and has to pay fines of up to $500. A 90-day suspension of their license is also possible. It’s important to note that all the fines are doubled if stopped in a work zone.
If 12 or more points are accumulated within two years, a driver can have their license suspended for six months. To get it back they have to complete a remedial driving course, retake their driver’s exam, and show proof of insurance.