New Law Cracks Down on Distracted Driving in Ohio
House Bill 95
Beginning in October, drivers could be forced to pay up to $100 or take an in-depth safety course for getting caught eating their breakfast on the road.
Texting and driving has always been heavily discouraged and has been a secondary offense in Ohio since 2012, but the new law discourages ALL forms of distracted driving and makes drivers pay for the reckless act. House Bill 95 applies to anything that could be seen as a distraction for the driver including playing with the radio, applying makeup, shaving, eating, and more. This law means that motorists pulled over for a traffic violation may get an additional ticket if distracted driving is deemed as the primary cause of the violation.
Governor John Kasich signed the bill after recognizing the drastic increase in distracted driving violations. Although total crashes, fatalities, and injuries decreased due to the efforts of The Ohio Department of Transportation, distracted driving violations saw an increase of 320 percent compared to the previous year. In total, the Ohio State Highway Patrol claims that distracted driving was a factor in 13,976 traffic crashes and caused 52 fatalities in Ohio in 2017 alone.
Supporters of House Bill 95 include insurance companies, police and firefighter organizations, and community members personally affected by the consequences of distracted driving. Lieutenant Rob Gable of the Ohio State Highway Patrol explains, “It became very socially unacceptable to get an OVI arrest and it still is. Our hope is that is doesn’t have to get that bad with distracted driving and that people will make the decision. To make that choice to put away distractions before their incident ends in something catastrophe”.
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
In the world of social media and constant notifications, it can be difficult to stay focused while on the road. That’s why we put together a list of five tips to help drivers stay focused and avoid distractions behind the wheel:
- Turn Off Your Phone – Avoid the most deadly distraction simply by turning it off! That post, text, or notification can wait.
- Adjust Your Music Beforehand- Decide on a certain radio station, playlist, or podcast before you start driving.
- Be Prepared – Make sure to leave enough time to groom, eat, and do all your necessary tasks BEFORE you leave the house.
- Invite a Passenger – Going on a road trip? Invite a passenger and put them in charge of navigation, researching, and holding you accountable to avoid distractions.
- Pull Over- Waiting on an important call? Want to look at the scenery on the side of the road? Need to finish the last bite of that burrito? Pull over! Finish any important tasks while the car is parked so there are no distractions while driving down the highway or a busy street.