Ohio's new texting ban now in full effect
03.01.13 — Ohio’s new texting while driving ban fully kicked in Friday, March 1, 2013, ending a six month warning period. Those caught texting while driving can be cited.
The new law allows law enforcement officers to pull over drivers under the age of 18 if they see them texting. It is what’s known as a primary offense, and can result in a substantial fine and loss of driving privileges.
For adults, the new law makes texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning the driver has to be pulled over for another infraction, and a ticket for texting can be added on.
The only exceptions are pre-programmed GPS, vehicles in a stationary (parked) position and outside a lane of travel (i.e. in a parking lot or on the side of a roadway), and emergency calls to law enforcement, hospital, fire department, etc. But “texting” doesn’t just mean thumbing in messages. It applies to reading, too — even checking your email.
“It is important to note that ‘texting’ includes writing, sending, and reading any text-based communication including instant messages and emails, as well as traditional mobile-to-mobile texts,” Morrow County Safe Communities Spokesperson Vicki Allen, RN said in a news release.
A recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 35 percent of drivers admitted to texting behind the wheel, and almost half of motorists aged 18 to 24 admitted to it. Also, nearly 5,500 people were killed and 448,000 were injured in the U.S. in 2009 due to distracted driving, and 16 percent of teens involved in a fatal accident in 2009 were reported to have been distracted.
“The bottom line,” Allen says, “is to just not use these devices while driving. That phone call, text message and email can wait.”
Ohio is the 39th state to enact a texting law.