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A new statewide distracted driving ban will take effect for all drivers in Ohio on August 31, 2012.  The law makes it illegal for any driver to write, send, or read a text message while driving, and will make the use of all hand held devices illegal for drivers under the age of 18.

State Highway Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston commented on the new law for teens by saying, “Pretty much anything you can think of, you can’t do it while driving.” Use of handheld devices includes, texting, emailing, calling, talking, web surfing, checking GPS directions, and changing songs on an iPod.

Once the law takes effect on Friday, there will be a six-month warning period before law enforcement officers begin ticketing offending drivers.  Violations will result in a $150 fine, and for younger drivers a 60-day license suspension.  Officers may stop and ticket adult drivers who violate the texting law only if they are also committing a primary offense.  For younger drivers, texting while driving will be a primary offense and they may be stopped and ticketed without the presence of other violations.

Ohio becomes the 39th state to ban all forms of texting for adult drivers and the 17th to ban use of all hand held electronic devices for young drivers.  The new law is intended to reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted driving.

For more information, contact the Ohio motor vehicle accident lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “State texting-and-driving ban begins Friday,” Robert Vitale, August 30, 2012.