On December 21, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law a bill that aims to crack down on distracted driving in the state. The bill, which takes effect on March 21, 2023, includes several provisions that are intended to make it easier for law enforcement officials to enforce existing laws against distracted driving and to help prevent accidents caused by distracted drivers.
One of the key provisions of the bill is a ban on using a handheld electronic device while driving. Under the new law, drivers are prohibited from using a handheld electronic device for any purpose while their vehicle is in motion, including to make phone calls, send text messages, or use social media. Drivers are also prohibited from holding a handheld electronic device while driving, even if they are not actively using it. The bill also includes a number of exemptions to the handheld device ban. For example, drivers are still allowed to use handheld devices to make emergency calls to law enforcement or other emergency services. Drivers are also allowed to use handheld devices that are integrated into the vehicle, such as built-in navigation systems.
In addition to the handheld device ban, the bill includes other provisions aimed at cracking down on distracted driving. For example, it strengthens existing laws against texting while driving and makes it a primary offense, meaning that law enforcement officials can pull over a driver for texting even if no other violation is taking place. The bill also allows law enforcement officials to impound the vehicle of a driver who is caught using a handheld electronic device while driving.
Overall, the Ohio Distracted Driving bill is a strong step forward in the fight against distracted driving. By banning the use of handheld electronic devices while driving and strengthening existing laws against texting, the bill is designed to make the roads safer for everyone. Once the law takes effect, people found to be in violation of the law will be subject to fines and repeat offenders could face even more serious penalties such as loss of driving privileges. With this law in place, law enforcement officials will have new tools to enforce distracted driving laws, and drivers will have a greater incentive to put down their phones and keep their eyes on the road.
As experienced Cleveland car accident lawyers, we know that distracted driving is a major problem on the roads of Ohio and across the country. Distracted driving, which includes activities such as texting, using social media, and making phone calls, has been shown to significantly increase the risk of car accidents. This new law is a positive step towards reducing the number of accidents caused by distracted driving.
However, it’s important to note that enforcing this new law may be challenging for law enforcement officials, as it can be difficult to prove that a driver was using a handheld electronic device at the time of an accident. Additionally, some drivers may be able to find ways to continue using their devices while driving, such as using voice-to-text features or using a device that is mounted on the dashboard. In the event of an accident caused by a distracted driver, victims may be able to recover compensation for their injuries and damages through a personal injury lawsuit. In such cases, it would be important for the victim to have evidence showing that the other driver was distracted at the time of the accident, such as testimony from eyewitnesses or evidence obtained from the other driver’s phone records. A personal injury lawyer can help accident victims navigate the legal system and pursue compensation for their losses.
Tittle & Perlmuter feels this new law is a step in the right direction towards reducing the number of distracted driving accidents on Ohio roads, but it is not a one-stop solution for the problem. Drivers should be aware of the new law and must avoid using any device while driving to stay focused on the road. Contact our team to learn more about this new law.