Distracted Driving Laws: Ohio Introduces New, Tougher Distracted Driving Law

To show the importance on the dangers of distracted driving, Ohio has implemented a new distracted driving law for the state. The new law, which makes it easier for the police to hand out violations, went into effect on Oct. 29. Check out the distracted driving law details below!

Distracted driving laws Ohio

House Bill 95

In Ohio, House Bill 95 was passed by the Ohio House in 2017. It took a little time, but the Ohio Senate passed the same bill in June 2018. That meant House Bill 95 took effect on Oct. 29. For this bill, it calls for up to a $100 fine for distracted driving. This is in addition to the normal fine they would get for a traffic violation, as long as the police can prove that the driver was driving while distracted. Representative Jim Hughes, R-Upper Arlington and the bill’s co-sponsor, said in a press release, “Our legislative goal is to encourage Ohio drivers to be cautious when driving and to think of their safety before anything else. No text message or phone call is worth losing your life or harming someone else.”

New Distracted Driving Law

Prior to this new law, the Ohio law enforcement had to prove that the driver was texting in order to give the fine out. With this bill’s approval, the bar for being distracted is much lower. According to the Sandusky Register, the police now need to prove a driver:

  • Used a handheld wireless communication device, like a cell phone
  • Engaged in an activity not necessary to the vehicle’s operation that impairs their ability to drive safely

No matter where you are at in Ohio, the law is the same. Erie County Deputy Matthew Heery said, “It’s the state’s way of reaffirming the importance of distracted driving.”

Minor Infractions

Texting and driving is a dangerous thing to do. Heery said that distracted driving normally leads to some other minor infraction, like driving left of the center line. This is where they pull the drivers over and can now issue the fine on distracted driving as well. Heery said, “They’re minor traffic violations, but minor things are what’s going to get you into a car accident.”