Ohio’s Texting Ban In Full Force Today
Ohio’s ban on texting while driving goes into full effect today, following a grace period of warnings issued to drivers caught violating the law.
The law makes reading or writing a text a secondary offense for adults, meaning they must be pulled over for something else to be cited.
The law makes prohibits anyone under the age of 18 to have a cellular phone in their hand while driving. The minor misdemeanor fine can run up to $150 for all ages.
In January the City of Washington Court House passed their own ordiannce taking the state’s law a higher extreme by making texting and driving a primary offense for adults, too.
The city’s ordinance was a result of the safety, service, and recreation committee’s recommendation to city council that the city create a texting and driving law similar to the state’s.
“I don’t think anyone [committee members] objected to the ordinance,” said City Manager Joe Denen.
The city’s ordinance prohibits anyone under the age of eighteen to have a wireless communication device in their hands at all while driving.
If you’re 17-years-old or younger, that means no texting, no emailing, no calling, no talking, no surfing, no looking up phones numbers and no changing songs on an iPod.
If you’re 18-years-old and older, texting doesn’t just mean thumbing in messages. It applies to reading, too — even checking your email, according to the ordinance.
The law doesn’t even allow you to text and drive if sitting stationary at a traffic light or stop sign. It reads that the driver must be outside marked lanes of travel.
There are other sections to the law that allows for adults to use electronic devices, such as entering a name or telephone number to make or receive a telephone call, using a GPS for navigational purposes, or reading a text message that includes emergency weather or traffic alerts.
Whoever violates the ordinance is guilty of a minor misdemeanor and will be fined $150. If the driver is under the age of eighteen, the court must suspended the teenagers driver’s license for sixty days.
If caught texting and driving a second time, the violator will be fined $300. For someone caught a second time while under the age of eighteen, their license will be suspended for one year.
The texting and driving ban would not apply to any person driving a public safety vehicle. That means if police officers are texting and driving while on duty, and the text is being used in the course of their duties, they’re exempted from the law.
“I think the police department is very comfortable about the piece of legislation,” said Denen.
According to the Ohio Highway Patrol, there were more than 31,000 automobile crashes in Ohio that were a result of distracted driving between 2009 and 2011.