Mary Alice Reporting – There will be a warning time period giving motorists the ability to adjust to a new law strengthening the states commitment to limit distracted driving.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine hosted a public awareness kickoff to spread the word that beginning Tuesday, April 4th, it will be illegal, in most cases, for a driver to use or hold a cell phone or electronic device while driving on Ohio roads.
The campaign asks those getting behind the wheel to “Lock Your Screen Before You Rock the Road”, says DeWine.
“Put it simply, lock your phone, put it down, put it in a console, put it in a glove compartment, just get it out of your hands, so that your hands are on the wheel and your eyes are on the road.”
This new law, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol Colonel Charles Jones, will give law enforcement officers the ability to conduct a traffic stop of someone who is texting or dialing a phone while driving.
“Talking on the phone while holding it and using a speaker feature, or entering an address into a map application or GPS. It is our hope, through this new law, we can stop them before they crash and injury others or themselves. Distracted driving is unsafe and irresponsible, and in a split second the consequences can be devastating.”
The next six months will be a grace period to allow for proper education says Jones.
“During this time frame, motorist can be stopped by law enforcement and educated on the new law and the associated dangers of distracted driving; however, they will not be issued a citation for violation. Full written enforcement of this law will begin this fall.”
The first official day is October 4th and at that time, a first offense could be up to a $150 fine and two points. A second offense is up to a $250 fine and the third offense goes up to $500.
The law will allow drivers, 18 year and older, to make or receive calls using hands-free technology, such as Bluetooth or integrated system, providing the driver is not holding or supporting the device to manually enter letters, numbers, or symbols.
Full details are available at www.phonesdown.ohio.gov.
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