Gov. DeWine signs expanded distracted driving bill into law

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 11:10 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law on Tuesday, expanding the state’s distracted driving laws, giving officers more freedom to pull drivers over for violations.

“Distracted driving is a killer, it’s unnecessary,” DeWine said at an afternoon news conference. “If we can eliminate distracted driving, we will save many, many lives.”

Under the new law, which goes into effect in April, texting while driving is prohibited and becomes a primary offense.

It was already illegal in Ohio, but it was a secondary offense for adults, meaning officers needed to witness a separate, primary offense before pulling drivers over.

The law also prohibits holding and looking at wireless devices while on the move, including entering information into GPS.

Using GPS devices is allowed, but the information must be entered before moving.

Drivers are still able to hold phones to their ear to make calls, they can also swipe or press a single button to accept and end calls.

Phone calls over speakerphone are also permitted.

The law provides exceptions in emergency situations and while stopped at a red light.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there have been at least 73,945 distracted driving crashes in Ohio since 2017, including 2,186 fatal and serious injury crashes.