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Driver looking down at their phone while driving


On Behalf of Diehl & Hubbell, Attorneys at Law April 28, 2021

The National Safety Council (NSC) asks drivers around the nation to reconsider looking at their phones during national Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April. This effort is designed to encourage new and experienced drivers to put aside their cell phones and keep their minds on the road ahead. 

In Ohio, distracted continues to prove dangerous and deadly for residents. The Ohio Department of Transportation released an annual crash report highlighting how various digital devices and other distractions led to almost 14,000 related crashes in 2017. Of these crashes, 50 resulted in fatalities, leaving families and communities devastated. Despite these tragedies, a AAA national survey found that while 90% of people agree distracted driving needs to be reduced, 39% are still doing it. 

Are Ohio Distracted Driving Laws Working?

As of 2021, Ohio has two distracted driving laws on the books. The first addresses explicit instances of texting while driving. Anyone over age 18 can receive a traffic violation and a $150 fine for this offense. However, it is only a secondary offense. This means law enforcement must have stopped you for a different reason, first. However, minor-aged drivers not only will get pulled over for this as a primary offense, but they have to pay fines and lose their driving privileges. 

The second law was enacted to help curb distracted driving and expand actions that constitute this dangerous behavior. This includes activities like eating, trying to care for your children in the back seat, fiddling with your radio, or using a phone. Still, much like the first law, police cannot use this as the primary reason for stopping you. 

Even with expanding what qualifies as distracted driving in 2019, there are still calls to strengthen legislation further once again. Governor Mike DeWine has announced plans to include his "Hands-Free Ohio" provisions in his 2021 Executive Budget. If successful, this would change distracted driving from a secondary to a primary offense for adults. 

These changes would prohibit much of the following while driving, regardless of your age:

  • Live streaming

  • Watching or recording videos

  • Using text communications in any manner while driving

  • Taking or looking at photos/images

  • Dialing phone numbers

  • Using apps

  • Holding devices for phone calls

  • Entering GPS information while driving 

The initial six months of this law would serve as a warning period. During this time, only warnings would be given to help educate the public about these new laws.  

Distracted Driver Hurt You in a Car Accident?

Distracted driving has quickly become one of several negligent behaviors one can engage in behind the wheel. If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident where you suspect or know the driver was distracted, contact our law firm right away. The Ohio car accident attorneys of Diehl & Hubbell have served Southwestern Ohio families for years who have been wrongly injured because of another person's reckless behavior while driving. 

Diehl & Hubbell has a reputation that you can trust to ensure you get the fair compensation you deserve. Contact our office online or call us to schedule a free initial consultation.