NEW laws banning drivers from using their phones behind the wheel have now come into force in a state that began issuing the warning six months ago.
Ohio’s distracted driving ban went into effect in April, but drivers were given a six-month grace period to adjust to the change.
This meant those caught using their phone while driving in the last six months would simply receive a warning.
However, starting October 5, anyone who violates the new law could be fined up to $150 for their first offense, Fox8 reports.
A second violation could result in a fine of up to $250, while any subsequent violations could cost the driver $500 and possibly a 90-day driver’s license suspension.
Sending text messages, dialing a phone number, surfing the Internet, playing mobile games, answering or making video calls, and recording videos are all violations of the new laws.
Read more about driving laws
It’s illegal for anyone under 18 to even use a phone – hands free and all.
An underage driver can only escape a traffic ticket if the phone is used to report an emergency or call emergency services, or if the phone call can be ended with a single touch or swipe.
If they are parked or at a traffic light, that would also be an exception to the rule.
An underage driver will not receive a ticket if his vehicle is stopped as part of an emergency closure on a highway.
The tougher enforcement could be fueled by some scary data from the state’s Highway Patrol that says more than a third of Ohio’s crashes statewide were caused by drivers ages 15 to 24.
Since 2018, there have been more than 66,000 accidents in the state attributed to distracted driving, and although the number of accidents this year is down by nearly 5,000 compared to last, these laws would hopefully encourage drivers to use their phones to put away.
Younger drivers in particular can increase the risk of serious injury due to their inexperience and distraction from their phones.
The first offense will have two points added to the license and a $150 fine, the second offense will have three points added to the license and a $250 fine, and any offense thereafter will be four points and one Fined $500 and a possible 90-day license suspension.
In a work zone the fines would double.
If there are more than 12 points on a driving license within a period of two years, the driving license can be revoked for six months.
They would then have to complete a driving course, retake their driving test and provide proof of insurance before they could get their license back.