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What the new texting and driving law means for Ohio motorists

Texas deputy caught texting and driving by man he arrested
Posted at 5:52 PM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 10:07:01-05

CLEVELAND — A new law stiffens texting and driving laws. Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill making it law on earlier this month. The law will take effect on April 3, 2023.

“Come April we will be beginning to make traffic stops as a primary offense when we see the cell phone or any other device in use, and then sometime in September or October you will start to see enforcement action,” said Sgt. Ray Santiago, Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The law makes texting and driving a primary offense in the state, which means law enforcement can stop and issue citations to drivers solely for that offense.

The law prohibits drivers from holding and looking at electronic wireless communications behind the wheel, that includes cell phones, watches or any other electronic device.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol there have been 60,263 distracted driving accidents since 2018. Of those, 1,774 have been fatal and serious crashes.

“This is giving us another tool which focuses on what we see as far as distracted driving goes, one of the more prevalent reasons which is someone using a cell phone or an electronic device rather than driving,” Santiago said.

Law enforcement believes the law will save lives.

“If you’re operating a motor vehicle pretty much that phone needs to be down or your texting device or whatever it is,” Santiago said. “We really trying to get people to focus on the task of driving."

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