On Friday August 31, Ohio joined the majority of other states to ban texting while driving. Distracted driving is considered to be any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from their primary task of driving. All distractions endanger the driver, passengers, other drivers, and bystander safety.
Of all the possible distractions texting is by far the worst, because it requires the driver to divert their visual, manual, and cognitive attention away from the road. In fact a typical text message requires the driver to divert their attention from the road for over 4 seconds during which time the car would travel the length of a football field at 55 mph. When is it really safe to take your eyes off the road for that amount of time while driving? NEVER!
Under the new law: Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from texting or using any electronic device while driving and will be treated as a primary offense. Those over the age of 18 are allowed to talk on their cell phone (for now), however texting is prohibited and is a secondary offense.
The law does allow for exceptions in case of emergency or if the car is stopped and off the road. Phones and GPS devices are allowed, as long as they are not being operated while vehicle is in motion. A possible fine for the first offense can be up to $150 and license suspension for 60 days. Second offense penalties include a fine up to $300 and license suspension for up to 1 year.