Is it Illegal to Be on Your Phone While Driving in Ohio?

Aug 19, 2020 Car Accidents    Legal Blog    Ohio Personal Injury

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

Distracted driving is a significant problem in Ohio and across the country. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 1,000 people are injured and approximately nine are killed in crashes with distracted drivers every day.

One of the most common ways drivers are distracted is by using cell phones. We are constantly checking texts, Facebook, or scrolling through various feeds. As a result, many states have enacted texting-specific driving laws, including Ohio.

These laws allow law enforcement to issue tickets for distracted driving, but if you were injured in a car accident because someone was on their phone, you also have the option to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. An Ohio car accident attorney with Kisling, Nestico & Redick can explain your rights and help you recover what you deserve.

Call us at 1-800-HURT-NOW today for a free, no-obligation consult.

Does Ohio Allow Cell Phone Use While Driving?

In many situations, it is unlawful for you to text and drive, and you could be ticketed. However, there are also some exceptions to the ban on texting while driving.

Teens in Ohio Cannot Use Phones While Driving

Ohio Revised Code §4511.205 prohibits drivers under 18 from using cell phones while operating a vehicle. More specifically, any minor driving on a temporary permit or a probationary driver’s license cannot drive while using an electronic wireless communications device, including cell phones, tablets, or laptops.

There are some exceptions. Teenagers can use a phone to contact the police or emergency services, through a hands-free device, or if their vehicle is parked outside the flow of traffic.

Teens Can be Ticketed

The police can pull over any adolescent they suspect of unlawfully using a phone while driving. If ticketed, the teen will be fined $150 and lose their driving privileges for 60 days. If the teen is a juvenile traffic offender, the consequences of texting while driving are a $300 fine and a one-year license suspension. Distracted driving is still a minor offense, but it still appears on your driving record and could increase insurance rates.

Texting is Illegal in Ohio for Adults Too

Under Ohio Revised Code §4511.204, it is unlawful for adults to drive a public road or area while using a handheld device for any text-based communication. This does not include using hands-free or voice-operated features or using a phone in an emergency.

Adult Penalties for Using Phones

Ohio’s texting while driving ban is a secondary law. Therefore, the police cannot pull adults over for suspected texting. Instead, an officer must notice another violation first. For example, if you weave out of your lane, they can pull the driver over. Then, the police can write you a ticket for unlawful cell phone use.

Adult violators are fined $150, and a new 2018 adds an additional $100 fine for distracted driving while committing a moving violation. The additional $100 fine is sometimes waived if the offender attends a distracted driving education course.

Ohio Cities Have Other Distracted Driving Laws

Counties and cities in Ohio are also free to enact their own phone and driving rules. Many have banned texting or any cell phone use, other than hands-free while driving. Some communities also have laws that supersede the secondary enforcement practice.

Therefore local police can ticket you for cell phone use without another offense. So make sure to look up your local cell phone while driving rules to stay safe and within the law while driving.

Hurt by a Distracted Driver? Contact KNR

If you were in a collision where the other driver was unlawfully on their cell phone, you should speak with an experienced attorney at Kisling, Nestico & Redick. If the other driver was distracted and at-fault for the crash, we will gather evidence of that driver’s liability to support your claim for compensation.

Our offices are conveniently located throughout Ohio, including in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. As one of the largest personal injury firms in the state, we have the experience to make sure your rights are respected.

To learn more about your options after a distracted driving accident, call KNR today at 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free consultation. We don’t earn a fee unless you recover.