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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Proposed Ohio Law Would Allow Police to Pull Over Drivers for Phone Use

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 10:34 AM

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In the near future in the Buckeye State, you could end up paying a fine for checking your Instagram direct messages.

A bill introduced yesterday in the Ohio House of Representatives would allow police to pull over drivers they witness using their phones, tablets or other electronics while driving.

Distracted driving is already illegal in Ohio. But currently, driving and texting (or whatever you're doing on your phone) is a secondary offense, meaning you can be ticketed for such use only if police pull you over for some other reason. The bill by Democrat State Rep. Mary Lightbody would change that, making use of an electronic device while driving a primary offense and allowing police to pull you over as soon as they see you send that tweet.

“The number of drivers I see using their smartphones while driving continues to concern me, especially as they tend to drive erratically,” Lightbody said in a statement. “This legislation will address the significant danger caused by drivers who drive under the influence of their electronic devices.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has spoken in favor of more regulations on distracted driving recently, even calling for legislation similar to Lightbody's last April.

Roughly 13,900 crashes in Ohio were caused by distracted driving in 2018 according to data from the Ohio Department of Transportation, including 52 that were fatal. That's up from fewer than 12,000 crashes and 45 deaths in 2013.

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