PDT Staff Writer
It is now illegal to text and drive in Ohio.
On Friday, Gov. John Kasich signed into law House Bill 99.
According to the law, drivers will be prohibited from using, “a handheld electronic communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication.”
The bill also prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using their cell phone or sending text messages while driving.
The law will take effect Aug. 30.
“This is a common-sense bill that will save lives within our communities and make our roads and highways safer,” State Rep. Dr. Terry Johnson said on the passage of HB 99.
“Studies have shown texting while driving to be an extremely dangerous distraction for drivers due to the extended time, an average of 4.6 seconds, spent not looking at the road,” the U.S. Department of Transportation said.
For those under 18 a violation of the law is considered a primary offense and a secondary offense for adult drivers.
According to the law, adult violators will face a fine of up to $150. Teens who violate the law will be subjected to a $150 fine and have their license suspended for 60 days. Teens who are repeat offenders will be fined $300 and have their license suspended for a year.
“We are making a difference in the fight against distracted driving through a combination of good laws, tough and consistent enforcement, and extensive public education,” said David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Ohio is sending a strong message that it wants its young drivers to be distraction free.”
A survey by the AAA Foundation on traffic safety showed that 35 percent of motorists of all ages admitted to text messaging while driving.
The City of Portsmouth is working to establish a similar law.
According to AAA, Ohio is joined by 38 other states states and the District of Columbia that have laws that address text messaging by all drivers.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.