Today is an important day for every Ohio resident and visitor. In an effort to reduce the prevalence of preventable car accidents, the Ohio state legislature has passed a measure which prohibits any motorist from texting while driving and bans teenage drivers from using all wireless communication devices while behind the wheel. The new law takes effect today.
Starting today, Ohioans are prohibited from writing, reading or sending texts from behind the wheel. Violation of this rule or the teen wireless communication ban will result in warnings only for the first six months of the ban. After that however, the rule for teenagers becomes a primary offense and the adult texting ban becomes a secondary offense.
Teenagers who are cited with violation of the new law (after the six month warning period) will face $150 fine and a six months suspension of driving privileges. A second offense will result in license suspension for a full year and $300 fine. Adult violators will face fines as expensive as $150.
Jurisdictions with tougher distracted driving laws will be allowed to keep their laws in effect. For example, all Cincinnati drivers will continue to be banned from texting or surfing the internet while behind the wheel.
Given the number of fatalities and severe injuries which occur each year on Ohio roads due to distracted driving behavior, the new ban is a welcome step towards increased safety for the state's motorists. Hopefully accident occurrence will drop significantly as drivers begin to halt their distracted driving behaviors.
Source: Cincinnati.com, "Ohio's texting-while-driving ban to take effect," Shauna Steigerwald, Aug. 30, 2012