Ohio is Cracking Down on Distracted Drivers

Distracted Driver on Phone, Drinking Coffee

We all know that texting while driving is dangerous, but a surprising number of people still do it. If you’re guilty of texting while driving, and you’ve never been in an accident or hurt someone (or yourself), you must realize the time has come to stop this selfish, dangerous behavior.

Ohioans are fed up with distracted drivers injuring and killing people on roadways. A law just passed in late October will allow Ohio law enforcement to issue a citation for distracted driving as a secondary offense, which means you were pulled over for another offense (like speeding or running a stop sign), but the officer deemed you were distracted while driving.

House Bill 95

House Bill 95 makes it easier for law enforcement to issue tickets for distracted driving, but texting is the not the only activity that will earn you this citation. “Distracted driving” includes any action that is not necessary to operate your motor vehicle and includes behaviors like adjusting the radio, putting on makeup, using GPS, scrolling Facebook, taking selfies, eating, and talking on your phone. With House Bill 95, police officers are no longer required to prove a driver was texting while driving; they need to only show a driver was distracted at the time of the violation or accident.

With House Bill 95, drivers will now face a fine of $100 in addition to any other fines they face for the primary reason a police officer pulled them over. In some cases, you may be able to take a distracted driving course online to reduce or eliminate that fine, but individual cases may vary. At the time you appear in court for your ticket, the options to settle the ticket will be explained, and drivers will have a deadline to complete an online distracted driving course if they qualify.

Distracted Driving Statistics

Since most teen and adult drivers have their phones with them in their car, it’s not surprising that the statistics regarding distracted driving accidents are so alarming. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10% of the country’s fatal crashes in 2015 were reported as distraction-affected collisions accounting for a total of 3,196 of roadway deaths that year.

In 2017, just under 14,000 drivers in Ohio crashed while being distracted by something in their cars, according to Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). Fifty one of those crashes were fatal, resulting in 55 total deaths, and another 4,668 drivers were in injury-causing collisions resulting in 6,988 injuries according to ODOT statistics. The number of reported distracted driving fatal crashes almost doubled from 2016 to 2017, resulting in a 96% increase in just twelve months.

Ohio State troopers want to emphasize that the new law is not meant to take money out of Ohioans’ pockets or create any type of financial hardship or legal mess, but is meant to make drivers aware of the serious nature of distracted driving and the deadly results that may occur if drivers don’t put their phones down while driving. With social media alerts and instant notifications for virtually everything we do on our phones, many people are finding it difficult to put off checking their phones until they reach their destination. Maybe facing the secondary offense of distracted driving and a citation of $100 will make drivers think twice before glancing at their phone while driving.

If you or someone you love was injured as the result of a distracted driver, talk to an accident attorney in your area.

Lynn Fugaro About Lynn Fugaro

Lynn has been writing web content since 2007 after a lengthy career as a middle school English teacher and administrator. Writing web content seemed a natural progression following a career teaching adolescents about the beauty and the power of the written word, and she quickly got hooked on the challenge of writing SEO- and reader-friendly content that could be found on Page 1 of Google and other search engines.

Having written content for physicians and attorneys for the first few years of her writing career, Lynn has most recently produced original, informative, entertaining, and relevant content for the entertainment industry, the automotive industry, senior communities, pet rescues and numerous other businesses hoping to increase website traffic and page views for all clients looking for informative, vibrant content.