Distracted Driving in Ohio

Penalties for distracted driving in Ohio may be getting stricter in the near future.  House Bill 95, also known as the "Enhance Penalty for Moving Violations While Distracted" Bill, passed in the House in June and is currently in the Senate. 

The Bill would implement an additional $100 fine if a traffic violation occurs because the driver was distracted.  The bill defines distracted as driving a motor vehicle while using "a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication."

However, the Bill also outlines several scenarios that are not considered distracted driving.  For example, the bill specifically says it does not apply to people "reading, selecting, or entering a name or telephone number in a handheld electronic wireless communications device for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call."

The Bill also does not make distracting driving a primary offense, meaning that a person driving while distracted cannot be pulled over unless another driving offense occurs.  Currently, 15 states and D.C. prohibit drivers from using hand-held cell phones and also make doing so a primary offense.  Texting while driving is also banned in 47 states, and all but 4 of them make texting while driving a primary offense as well. 

To learn more about the bill, read the full text here


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