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Know the law on Distracted Driving

By March 2, 2023No Comments

Ohio Senate bill 288, which now makes distracted driving a PRIMARY offense, will go into effect on April 3, 2023.  It allows law enforcement to stop any driver, regardless of age, if they see a driver using, holding, or physically supporting a cell phone1.

Interestingly, this offense does not prohibit:

  • a driver from holding the phone near their ear for a call,
  • using the phone on speaker mode, calling 911 or touching the phone ONCE to start or end a call.
  • It does, however, prevent drivers from dialing a phone number to make a call (other than 911), as well as texting while driving.
  • Using a navigation app is allowed, as long as the driver is not holding it.

Between now and 4/2/23, police can pull drivers over for cell phone usage but will only issue written warnings. Once the law is in effect, drivers can be cited up to $150 for their first offense and two points on their license.

Some Ohio cities have laws that supersede Ohio laws, meaning the above may be illegal in those cities. Additionally, distracted driving laws vary by state. Ignorance of the law does not prevent citations, so be sure to review out of state laws when traveling.

Ohio Revised Code 4511.991 and 4511.204