Texting and Driving Laws

Texting and Driving Laws

Texting and Driving Laws

Texting while driving is an extremely dangerous venture that leads to countless avoidable collisions. The fact of the matter is that texting while driving is simply not worth it. States across the country are cracking down on the use of mobile devices while operating motor vehicles, and rightfully so. By simply putting down the cell phone can potentially reduce a plethora of collisions across the county.

This leads us to the State of Ohio. According to Ohio.gov, “[a]s of April 4, 2023, [it is] illegal to use or hold a cell phone or electronic device while driving.” Indeed, a police offer can pull a driver over if he or she sees a violation. Further, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation, a driver over the age of 18 can make and/or receive calls by a “hands-free” device, which includes: earpieces, electronic watches, connecting phone to a vehicle, speakerphones, and wireless headsets.

Additionally, the Ohio Department of Transportation goes on to describe what actions are generally unacceptable. For instance, while driving, one cannot browse the internet, dial a phone number, play a game, record or stream a video, video calls or FaceTime, browse/update social media or watch a video. Essentially, anything that requires one to actually hold the phone while driving is forbidden.

With that said, there are some narrow exceptions to the prohibited actions. Some of these exceptions include the following:

  1. Reporting an emergency to law enforcement, fire department, a health care provider, a hospital or a similar emergency entity.
  2. First responders using the electronic device as part of their official duty.
  3. Using the electronic device while stopped at a traffic light or parked on the road during an emergency or road closure.
  4. Utility workers operating utility vehicles in certain outage situations or an emergency.

In addition to the exceptions outlined above, there are other exceptions to the rule. For more on the exceptions, check the Ohio Department of Transportation website.

Next, the Ohio Department of Transportation has also advised regarding the enforcement of this new law. Specifically, the Ohio Department of Transportation stated:

[w]hen the new distracted driving law takes effect of April 4, 2023, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement will issue warnings for six months for violations as part of the effort to educate and help motorist adapt to the new law. Beginning October 5, 2023, law enforcement will start issuing citations for violating this law.

Ohio Department of Transportation.

Finally, the driving while texting law can be read at Ohio Revised Code § 4511.204. It is important to have a complete understanding of this new law. As such, at your leisure it may be beneficial to read the Ohio Revised Code section dictating the new law. Remember to put the phone down in the car and be safe behind the wheel!