DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A new law in Ohio now makes driving while using a cell phone a primary offense.
April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month, which is perfect timing to start the implementation of Ohio’s new distracted driving law and to educate drivers on what it means for their time behind the wheel.
“Hopefully it will through education more and more drivers not being educated enough to say, ‘Hey, look, let’s just stop whatever’,” Daryl Wilson, Chief Deputy for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, said.
“We don’t pay attention to the roadways and people surround you while we operate in a vehicle to hopefully slow down, stop some of these tragic accidents that we continue to see due to distracted driving.”
Starting April 4, distracted driving is now punishable with up to a $150 fine and 2 points on your license for the first offense. The law prohibits drivers from using their phone unless they are on a call on speaker or to their ear, or in the case of an emergency.
The governor launched a campaign to promote the new law Monday, with the support of the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Sgt. Tyler Ross with OSP said they understand the times we live in, but the number of fatalities and crashes we’ve seen in recent years is unacceptable.
“2018 to current, we’ve issued over 41,000 citations as a secondary offense. So that just puts it into perspective. Like this is it’s a big concern,” Ross said.
“I’m sure you’ve seen it driving or commuting to and from work. People are always on their phones. They’re driving outside their lane travel. They’re following the vehicle in front of them to close it. Just something we see way too often. And like I said, with 62,000 crashes from 2018 occurring, over 1800 of those involving somebody losing their life or being seriously injured. That’s way too many interstates 2023, a lot of people are on their phones, whereas their personal life, professional life. But you just can’t do it while you’re driving.”
The new law can be read in full online here.