Starting last Friday, Ohio motorists caught texting while driving became subject to fines, while drivers under 18 potentially face license suspensions. Ohio had already enacted a six-month grace period during which drivers were issued warnings, but now the practice is a minor misdemeanor, although it is only a secondary offense for adults. Secondary means that it becomes a violation if a driver is stopped for another traffic offense, so that they can then be cited for both violations. For drivers under 18 however, the practice is a stand alone ticket-able offense.
Many municipalities already had stricter anti-texting laws on the books, which they may continue to enforce. For example, Wauseon forbids all drivers from sending and receiving text messages. Ohio is the 38th state to criminalize texting while driving and the first state to take every cell phone, computer, or other wireless device out of teen drivers’ hands. The only exception allows for the use of navigational devices as long as teens don’t use their hands to reprogram them while driving.
Adult violators of the new law face a fine of up to $150 for a first offense, while minors face a fine and a 60-day license suspension. Subsequent offenders are subject to $300 fines and a one-year license suspension.
Text Kills supports laws that prohibit the deadly practice of texting while driving and seek to make the roads safer for everybody. While the laws are harsher on teen drivers than adult drivers, this is due to the tragic fact that more young drivers are getting into accidents and dying as a result of texting while driving. Although the penalties may seem severe, the results of texting while driving can prove much more severe. We hope that someday soon every state will enact similar laws to help curb distracted driving and save lives, especially those of our youth.
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