Enforcement of Ohio’s distracted driving law starts Thursday

The grace period for Ohio’s distracted driving law will end this week.
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 12:39 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The grace period for Ohio’s distracted driving law will end this week.

Starting Oct. 5, warnings are out the door and law enforcement will instead issue citations for those caught violating the law that went into effect on April 4.

The 6-month grace period was to allow drivers to adapt to the state’s distracted driving law.

The use of cell phones and other electronic communications devices will be considered a primary traffic offense for all drivers, allowing law enforcement to immediately pull over a distracted driver upon witnessing a violation.

The Ohio Department of Transportation outlined the penalties drivers will face for violating the law:

  • 1st offense in two years: Two points assessed to driver’s license, up to a $150 fine.
  • 2nd offense in two years: Three points assessed to license, up to a $250 fine.
  • 3rd or more offense in two years: Four points assessed to license, up to a $500 fine, possible 90-day suspension of driver license.
  • Fines doubled if the violation occurs in a work zone.

There are exceptions to the law, according to ODOT.

Ohio drivers 18 years and older can make and receive calls via hands-free devices.

Those devices, per ODOT, include:

  • Speakerphone
  • Earpiece
  • Wireless headset
  • Electronic watch
  • Connecting phone to vehicle

[You can find a full list of exceptions here]

Watching GPS/navigational displays are allowed, according to ODOT.

ODOT suggests that drivers should pull over to a safe area and park if they must physically use their cell phone or electronic device.

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