Starting April 4 in Ohio, texting while driving will become a primary offense in the state – meaning law enforcement can pull you over if they see you using your cell phone while your vehicle is in motion.
The bill, which was initially part of House Bill 283 sponsored by representatives Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) and Brian Lampton (R-Beavercreek), contains several safety measures championed by Governor DeWine, including a wide ban on using and holding a phone while driving.
The bill was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in January.
“Signing this bill today is a great honor because this legislation will, without a doubt, prevent crashes and save lives,” said Governor DeWine when he signed the bill. “Right now, too many people are willing to risk their lives while behind the wheel to get a look at their phones. My hope is that this legislation will prompt a cultural shift around distracted driving that normalizes the fact that distracted driving is dangerous, irresponsible, and just as deadly as driving drunk.”
Under the new law, a driver may still use their device in specific circumstances, such as when their vehicle is parked or stopped at a red light. Drivers are also permitted to swipe their phones to answer a call and to hold their phones to their ears during phone conversations. Emergency calls are also permitted in all circumstances.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that there have been at least 73,945 distracted driving crashes in Ohio since 2017, including 2,186 fatal and serious injury crashes