City of Lakewood bans use of cellphones while driving

Officers may charge a first offender with a minor misdemeanor and issue a $150 fine.

City of Lakewood bans use of cellphones while driving
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - On Monday Dec. 2, a new cellphone ban will go into effect in Lakewood.

On Sept. 3, Lakewood City Council unanimously adopted legislation to ban the use of cellphones and other electronic wireless communication devices while driving in the city.

The legislation also elevates cellphone-related offenses from secondary to primary. Officers will no longer have to identify an accompanying traffic violation in order to issue a ticket.

Under the new law, officers may charge a first offender with a minor misdemeanor and issue a $150 fine.

The city’s previous law only pertained to texting.

“On balance, this is a really important step to make our community safer,” Council President Sam O’Leary said. “all the data suggests that the dangers of cellphone use while driving is on par with the dangers of drinking and driving.”

Public Safety Committee Chairman Tom Bullock guided the legislation through several technical revisions and focused committee discussion on carving out narrow exceptions for:

  • Communicating or navigating using hands-free features built into the vehicle.
  • Communicating or using navigation tools on a mounted device.
  • Accepting a fare, accepting a call, or making a call using a device’s one-touch capability if the device is mounted.

“The Lakewood Police Department supports the new ordinance on distracted driving as an important step forward in deterring preventable accidents,” said Chief Timothy Malley. “Distracted driving is a major cause of crashes on our roadways and giving our officers the tools to prevent these crashes from happening is appropriate.”

According to the statement released by the Lakewood City Council nearly 4,000 Americans are killed and 400,000 are injured annually involving accidents with distracted drivers.

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