PDT Staff Writer
It is now illegal to text and drive in Ohio. In June of 2012 Gov. John Kasich signed into law House Bill 99.
Since being signed into law, law enforcement officials have given drivers a grace period before strict enforcement of the texting ban.
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.
According to AAA who has been an longtime advocate of enacting such laws around the country, “under the new law, police officers can pull over drivers under the age of 18 suspected of texting and driving or talking on a cell phone. Teens caught using any electronic wireless communications device while driving – whether for texting, sending e-mail, or talking – face a $150 fine and 60-day license suspension for the first offense.”
According to AAA, drivers older than 18 can only be cited as a secondary offense and must be stopped for another violation before a citation can be given.
If cited the driver could face a misdemeanor fine of up to $150 dollars.
“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.
According to AAA, 39 states have bans on texting behind the wheel.
“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.”
AAA launched a state-wide billboard campaign this week to remind motorists of the new law. Sixty billboards will be appearing across the state.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.