New bill stiffens Ohio’s texting and driving laws
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Ohio is stiffening its texting and driving laws with new legislation passed Wednesday by the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate.
Texting and driving is now a primary offense in the state and prohibits drivers from holding and looking at an electronic wireless communications device while behind the wheel, with certain exceptions. The exceptions were not outlined in the release from the House of Representatives.
A primary offense means law enforcement can stop and issue citations to drivers solely for that offense.
While texting and driving was already illegal in Ohio, drivers could not be stopped for distracted driving unless they were pulled over and cited for a separate offense (e.g. speeding, running a stop sign).
With House Bill 288, law enforcement can now issue citations to drivers for distracted driving without the individual having to violate another offense.
“The Ohio General Assembly took a giant leap in protecting people on the roads today,” said HB 288 co-sponsor Rep. Brian Lampton. “This bill will help change the culture of recklessness that surrounds distracted driving and it will save lives.”
From 2013 through 2019, more than 91,000 distracted driving crashes occurred throughout the state of Ohio, according to the State Highway Patrol. This resulted in more than 47,000 injuries and 305 deaths.
House Bill 288 now heads to Gov. Mike DeWine for him to sign.
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