Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Texting or Talking While Driving May Become Primary Offense

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM


As early as March first, new legislation could penalize anyone using a "handheld electronic wireless communications device" while operating a vehicle.

It's an amendment to an earlier texting-while-driving law and would make any infraction a primary offense. In other words, a police officer could flag you down expressly for being on the phone. It's not like you'd have to be cruising through a red light or speeding.

Financial penalties would be pretty steep. The first offense would likely carry a fine of $100. The second, $250. Subsequent offenses would not exceed $500.

Discussion among council members at the public safety meeting this morning revolved around proposed grace periods and court appearances, but the majority of council members seemed in favor, at least in principle.

Exceptions exist, of course. The restrictions would not apply to those using Bluetooth technology, those in a stationary vehicle who are outside a lane of travel, those using a device for emergency purposes, and (questionably) those using a device for navigation purposes.

Complications regarding enforcement were what Councilman Polensek cited as his reservations. Councilman Reed, the ordinance's lead sponsor, indicated that several suburbs have already adopted similar safety measures and that Cuyahoga County is pacing Ohio in terms of distraction-related accidents.

The amendment must be modified slightly and then presented before the finance committee before Mayor Jackson can sign it into law.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation