Statewide Texting Ban Begins In Ohio

Those 160 characters could cost you 150 dollars. If you are under 18, driving and texting could also cost you your license. Ohio’s statewide ban on texting while driving became effective yesterday.

Ohio revised code section 4511.204, effective August 31, 2012, prohibits driving a motor vehicle ‘while using a handheld electronic communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication’. There are exceptions to the law, including an exception for texting from your vehicle when you are stationary and not in a lane of travel. For adults, violating this law is punishable by a fine of up to $150.

For juveniles, the law is a little different. Ohio revised code section 4511.205 prohibits driving a motor vehicle and using any electronic communications device in any manner. This means juveniles cannot text or email and also cannot talk on the phone or use GPS navigation. A violation of this law can lead to a fine of $150 and a license suspension for 90 days. A second conviction for this offense results in a $300 fine and a license suspension for one year.

The statewide texting ban is a good policy, as texting while driving is arguably more dangerous than drunk driving, as reported by CNBC. There will be some difficulty in enforcing the new law. Passing the law, however, makes a public declaration that we don’t approve of the conduct and will likely be a deterrent even if enforcement is limited.

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