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Ohio Distracted Driving Law Aims to Keep Phones Out of Drivers' Hands

It's really simple, if they see you looking at your phone screen instead of the road, you're likely getting a ticket.

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Image for article titled Ohio Distracted Driving Law Aims to Keep Phones Out of Drivers' Hands
Image: Jonathan Brady (AP)

Distracted driving is dangerous. From using in-car technology like your big-screen infotainment systems, to the worst offender of using a cell phone while driving, everything could be a gamble for your own or someone else’s life. It’s why states have been cracking down on distracted driving. The newest law, comes from Ohio, where WHIO ABC 7 reports that drivers there can only use their phone when the vehicle is completely stopped.

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Enacted on April 4, the law makes it illegal “to use or hold a cell phone or electronic device in your hand, lap, or other parts of the body while driving on Ohio roads.” If an officer sees you doing any of these things, you bet you’re going to get pulled over, and you’re going to get a ticket. Well, eventually.


For the first six months, Ohio police officer James Champ explained to ABC 7, “If we encounter somebody with their phone in their hand, we’re not disciplining them because it is a grace period for the warnings. We’re more of a coaching aspect. We’re trying to get them to realize that it’s okay to use it, but this is how you need to use it when you’re on it.” 

It’s worth noting that drivers can still use their phones, but only under certain circumstances, like taking a call with the phone up at your ear. Officer Champ says the issue comes down to if your phone is in front of you and you’re looking at that screen instead of the roadway.


Drivers noted to ABC 7 that pulling them over to just get a warning for the time being is inconvenient. But too bad. All of this can be avoided if people just use the technology that’s available to them. Most newer vehicles come with bluetooth capability. Pair your phone with your vehicle and talk through the car’s stereo system. You don’t need to scroll through your phone for anything while you’re driving. And automakers have made it more than convenient for drivers to use their phones “hands free.”