Gov. DeWine Signs Distracted Driving Bill

The new law will designate distracted driving as a primary offense for all Ohio drivers.

Shutterstock photo.

(Columbus, Oh.) – Tougher distracted driving laws will soon be in effect in Ohio. 

Governor Mike DeWine today signed Senate Bill 288, which significantly strengthens law in Ohio related to the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving.

The bill designates the use of cell phones and other electronic communications devices while driving as a primary traffic offense for all drivers and allows law enforcement to immediately pull over a distracted driver upon witnessing a violation.

Under the previous law, distracted driving was a primary offense only for juvenile drivers, preventing officers from stopping adult distracted drivers unless those drivers also committed a separate primary traffic violation, such as speeding or running a red light.

The new law allows for a driver to use their device in specific circumstances, such as when their vehicle is parked or stopped at a red light. Drivers are also permitted to swipe their phones to answer a call and hold their phones to their ears during phone conversations. Emergency calls are also permitted.

“Signing this bill today is a great honor because this legislation will, without a doubt, prevent crashes and save lives,” said Governor DeWine. “Right now, too many people are willing to risk their lives while behind the wheel to get a look at their phones. My hope is that this legislation will prompt a cultural shift around distracted driving that normalizes the fact that distracted driving is dangerous, irresponsible, and just as deadly as driving drunk." 

The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that there have been at least 73,945 distracted driving crashes in Ohio since 2017, including 2,186 fatal and serious crashes. Traffic fatalities overall have increased in eight of nine years from 2013 to 2021, with deaths reaching their highest point in nearly two decades in 2021 with 1,355 fatalities.

Senate Bill 288 will go into effect in 90 days.

Warnings will be issued to drivers found violating the law for the first six months. After the grace period, citations could be issued. Penalties include a fine of up to $150 for a driver’s first offense and two points on their license unless a distracted driving safety course is completed.

Increased penalties can occur if the driver is a repeat offender.

More from Local News

Events

Greater Harrison Chamber Seeking Nominations for 2024 Awards

Do you know a Greater Harrison business, organization, or individual worthy of recognition?

Two Batesville Schools Administrators Honored

The school district has two finalists in the Principal of the Year program.

Early Morning Fire Destroys Structure

The fire took place in the area of 60 West on County Road 800 South.

IBCA/IHSAA Basketball Showcase Takes Place In June

Local boys' and girls' teams will play in front of Division 1 coaches.

Batesville's Grunkemeyer, Lawrenceburg's McLane Named South All-Stars

The EIAC rivals will team up in June at the IHSBCA North-South Series.

Local Sports Report - May 28, 2024

Rising Sun softball advanced to the semi-state on Tuesday.

On Air

Eagle Country 99.3 playing
Aaron Tippin - Where The Stars & Stripes - EAGLE ONLY NO INTRO

Chris Janson Fix a Drink 13:45
Gary Allan Man To Man 13:41
Lainey Wilson Wildflowers And Wild Horses 13:34
Thomas Rhett Die a Happy Man 13:30