CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - In all of Ohio texting while driving is illegal, but House Bill 95 went into effect Oct. 29 and stiffened the law.
The new law makes it easier for authorities to issue tickets to motorists for distracted driving -- not just texting. Scrolling through Facebook could get you a ticket just the same. The penalties for a distracted driving ticket has increased as well, to $100.
House Bill 95 is a secondary offense, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Adam Doles.
In 2017, 13,997 drivers in Ohio crashed while being distracted by something within their vehicles, according to O.D.O.T. Fifty one of these crashes were fatal, resulting in 55 total deaths. Another 4,668 drivers were in injury-causing crashes resulting in a total of 6,988 injuries, O.D.O.T. reports.
The number of reported distracted driving fatal crashes nearly doubled from 2016 to 2017 (96 percent).
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10 percent (3,196) of U.S. fatal crashes in 2015 were reported as distraction-affected.
Charges for making a cell phone call with the device in your hand, varies by community.
The biggest difference from one city to the next is whether or not an officer can pull you over when they see you using it, or whether you have to violate some other law to get pulled over.
It's the difference between what's called a primary offense and a secondary offense.
"A secondary violation is a traffic infraction, but the officer cannot solely stop a car for that reason; think of seatbelts, driving while texting, probationary drivers licenses, not having windshield wipers on during rain. The officer must stop you for a primary violation first to enforce these sections," according to Lieutenant Robert G. Sellers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Most communities allow hands free cell phone use.
Newer restrictions focus on handled cell phone, or electronic device, use.
Cleveland 19 is working to compile a list of which of our local communities have moved cell phone use to a primary offense.
- North Royalton
- Seven Hills
- North Ridgeville
- Broadview Heights
- East Cleveland
Cleveland 19 is sponsoring the “W82TXT” campaign. Click here for all of the information you need to know to wait to text.