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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month – New Distracted Driving Law in Ohio

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declared April to be Distracted Driving Awareness Month. There is growing concern that distracted driving is becoming a deadly epidemic on our roads. Cell phone use, including texting, talking, and social media participation, has become the most common distraction drivers partake in on the road. Other common distractions include checking GPS, applying makeup, eating, and drinking. 

At The Richards Firm, we want to take this month to remind you of the deadly consequences distracted driving can have. Please take this month to reevaluate your driving practices and recommit to safe driving habits free of dangerous distractions.

In Ohio, Distracted Driving Awareness Month coincides with the implementation of a new distracted driving law designed to crack down on these dangerous distracted driving habits. 

As of April 4th, 2023, Senate Bill 288 strengthens the law relative to the use of cell phones and electronic devices while driving. This new law is a general ban on using or holding a phone while driving. This includes in your hand, your lap, or other parts of the body. 

With the implementation of this bill, officers will be able to pull over a distracted driver upon witnessing a violation. However, there will be a 6-month grace period where officers will only issue warnings. In short, the use of a cell phone in the handheld sense will be a primary traffic offense that no longer requires an underlying offense to justify a cop pulling someone over.

Hands-Free Cell Phone Use

This new law will encourage and allow the use of hands-free technology while driving for drivers over 18,  including the following:

  • Speakerphone
  • Earpiece
  • Wireless headset
  • Electronic watch
  • Connecting phone to vehicle

In most cases, anything more than a single touch or swipe is against the law.

What’s Off Limits?

With very few exceptions, anything that involves using, holding, or supporting a device while driving is off-limits. This could include:

  • Dialing a phone number
  • Sending a text message (hands-free voice-to-text is allowed)
  • Video call or Facetime
  • Browsing the internet
  • Watching videos
  • Playing games
  • Recording or live-streaming video

Vehicle Accident Attorney 

As a vehicle accident attorney in Hamilton, Ohio, we have seen firsthand the devastation that can result from distracted driving. We are happy to see increased accountability on our Ohio roads. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to another person’s distracted driving or negligence, please contact The Richards Firm to get started on your claim. 

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