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Has Ohio's texting ban reduced car accidents?

Last year, Ohio banned texting while driving. Now, many people want to know if the ban has been able to reduce distracted driving in the state.

While law enforcement officials said the ban has been difficult to enforce, they say the law has led to fewer drivers texting behind the wheel. The law bans all drivers from texting. Drivers younger than 18 can only use hands-free devices and are only allowed to use cellphones in an emergency or if the car is parked off the road.

Drivers under the age of 18 can be pulled over by police if they are seen talking on a cellphone. If they are pulled over, teen drivers will receive a mandatory $150 fine and have their license suspended for 60 days. Teen drivers who receive multiple violations can face a $300 fine and have their license suspended for a year.

Adults are banned from texting while driving, but they can talk on cellphones or use other electronic devices like a GPS while driving. Adult drivers who violate the ban and text while driving can face a maximum fine of $150.

Law enforcement officials said that it is difficult to enforce the texting ban because it is not a primary offense for all drivers, just teens. If it was a primary offense for all drivers, it would be safe to assume that police would be giving citations to many more drivers for texting because it isn't just teens who text behind the wheel.

While it seems like the texting ban is working, law enforcement officials and safety groups think that allowing police to pull over any driver for texting would create safer roads in Ohio. However, the law has only been in effect for one year and if it proves to reduce distracted driving, the state could look at making it a primary offense for all drivers in the state.

Source: News-Herald, "Authorities say ban on texting while driving seems to be a deterrent," Aug. 25, 2013

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