In an effort to curb the increasing number of accidents caused by distracted driving, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed a new bill that will take effect on April 4th. The updated law makes it a primary traffic offense for all drivers to use, hold, or physically support a cell phone while driving, with certain exceptions. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the new law, its exceptions, and the penalties associated with violating the law. As a local law firm, we hope to educate and inform Ohio drivers about the upcoming changes to ensure their safety on the road.
Understanding the New Law
The new distracted driving law aims to change the culture surrounding distracted driving by equating it with the dangers of drunk driving. Previously, distracted driving was only considered a primary offense for juvenile drivers. Adult drivers could only be stopped and cited if they committed a separate primary traffic violation, such as speeding or running a red light. Now, the law allows law enforcement to pull over any driver they witness using a cell phone or other electronic communications device while driving.
Exceptions to the Law
While the law is strict in its prohibition of cellphone use while driving, there are some exceptions that allow drivers to use their devices under specific circumstances:
Stopped at a red light: Drivers may use their cellphones if their vehicle is completely stopped at a red light.
Speakerphone function: If drivers can use the speakerphone function without physically holding their phone, they are permitted to do so.
Phone calls: Drivers can hold their phones to their ears during phone calls, but they cannot use texting or typing functions.
Emergency calls: In any situation, drivers are allowed to make emergency calls. It is crucial for drivers to be aware of these exceptions to avoid unnecessary penalties.
Grace Period and Penalties
To give drivers time to adjust to the new law, law enforcement officers will issue warnings to those found violating the law during the first six months after it goes into effect. After the six-month grace period, officers will have the authority to issue citations.
For first-time offenders, the penalties include a fine of up to $150 and two points on their driver’s license. However, the points can be waived if the driver completes a distracted driving safety course. Repeat offenders will face increased penalties, which may include higher fines, additional points on their license, and possibly license suspension.
The Importance of Adapting to the New Law
The primary goal of Ohio’s new distracted driving law is to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities caused by distracted driving. By being aware of the upcoming changes and taking steps to adapt to the new regulations, drivers can contribute to a safer driving environment for everyone.
As a local law firm, we encourage all Ohio drivers to familiarize themselves with the new law and its exceptions. It is our hope that by understanding and adhering to these new rules, our roads will become safer for all users. In the unfortunate event that you find yourself involved in an accident or facing penalties due to distracted driving, our experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate the legal process.
Ohio’s updated distracted driving law is a significant step toward increasing road safety and reducing the number of accidents caused by distracted driving. By understanding the new rules and making necessary adjustments to their driving habits, Ohio motorists can contribute to a safer driving environment for everyone on the road.
If you have any questions about the new law or require legal assistance related to a distracted drivingincident, our experienced team at Godbey Law LLC is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at 513-241-6650 and ensure you are prepared for the changes