While it is currently illegal to text while driving in the state of Ohio, it is only a secondary offense. This means a police officer must pull you over for some other illegal act such as speeding or improperly changing lanes. There is a bill pending that could turn texting while driving into a primary offense meaning that this is all you have to do to be pulled over. Under Ohio Revised Code 4511.204, it is a minor misdemeanor to operate a handheld wireless communication device to write, read, or send text based communication. This includes if an officer witnesses you sending a text message while sitting at a red light. It also prohibits using a cell phone while driving through a school zone or construction zone. This can result in a $150 fine and a 60 day license suspension. This law dates back to March 2013 but some say it isn’t effective enough and haven’t seen the results that it was intended for.
State Representative Rex Damschroder said that studies have shown that states where texting while driving is a primary offense have seen a drop in driving fatalities. While data does support the fact that texting while driving raises the risk of getting into a crash, the law opposers argue the enforcement of the law. They ask, how can a police officer be sure a driver is texting while driving? A driver might be changing the radio or looking at directions. It could cause a lot of unnecessary pull-overs and result in doing more harm than good.
If you have been charged with a traffic violation, contact an attorney at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder.