New Ohio law targets distracted driving by penalizing cellphone use
By Zack Frink, Elevate Dayton
Aiming to diminish the number of distracted driving incidents and associated deaths, Ohio has introduced a new law permitting law enforcement officers to stop drivers who appear to be using their cellphones while on the road, reports the Dayton Daily News.
Setting the Scene: Law enforcement officers can now stop Ohio drivers who engage in prohibited activities such as texting, making a phone call, or operating a phone while driving.
For the initial six months, officers will hand out written warnings for such violations, and further penalties will be applied for recurring offenses.
The Fine Print: Ohio Senate Bill 288 imposes a $150 fine and adds two points to the driver's record for the first offense.
Penalties become more severe for subsequent violations.
What We’re Hearing: Although the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has raised concerns about a potential rise in profiling, local law enforcement agencies stress that they do not condone such behavior.
To address possible issues, the ethnicity of the drivers receiving citations will be submitted to the Ohio Attorney General's Office each year.
Why It Matters: The new law aims to improve driver safety and decrease preventable accidents, as over 62,000 distracted driving crashes and 1,800 severe and fatal injuries have been documented since 2018.
This article originally appeared on Elevate Dayton and republished through its partnership with the Dayton Weekly News.