Gov. DeWine to introduce new bill targeting distracted drivers in Ohio

Joanna Estrada
February 16, 2020

He was accompanied by his bill's sponsors, Sens. Since 2018, distracted driving in OH has been a secondary offense, which means an officer can only pull someone over if they see them commit another violation first. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) and Sen.

"Bottom line, most everything you do with a wireless device while driving will be off limits", DeWine said. "Although Ohio's current laws are well-intended, they simply haven't gone far enough to change the culture around using technology behind the wheel". "We are confident that by taking the phones out of drivers' hands, we will change distracted driving behaviors in OH, and we know that this will save lives". Law enforcement can not make a traffic stop unless the driver also commits a primary traffic offense, such as running a red light.

The bill would extend to actions like texting (writing, sending, or reading), watching or recording videos, taking or looking at photos, live streaming, using apps, entering information into Global Positioning System, dialing phone numbers, or holding the device while on the phone.

Thursday's news release indicated that the Ohio State Highway Patrol attributes a recent increase in fatal crashes to using smartphones while driving. Iowa is $1000 and Utah $750. see In 1995 I was injured by a distracted cell phone user in a rear end accident.

The bipartisan bill has widespread support from insurance companies, safety groups and families who have lost someone they love to distracted driving.

Additionally, the bill permits drivers to use Global Positioning System devices for navigation, however, destinations must be entered before driving begins and the device can not be held or supported with the body. A similar Democratic-backed bill introduced last month has received one hearing, but has no Republican-cosponsors. The Ohio Department of Transportation will also install road signs to alert drivers from other states to Ohio's regulations.

"Upon taking office past year, Governor DeWine learned that OH was facing an impending crisis of risky, crumbling roadway infrastructure throughout the state".

Fines will be higher, and cases where distracted drivers cause serious injury or death will be treated similarly to drunken driving cases.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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