Beginning Jan. 1st, law enforcement officers are authorized to issue citations for Ohio's new texting ban. The bill was signed back in July, but didn't go into force until Jan. 1st. The law states that it is against the law for anyone less than 18 years old to use any electronic wireless device, in any manner, while driving. Specifically, it is against the law to use a device to talk, text, e-mail or play video games while driving. Also, teens are not allowed to use a GPS device unless it is voice-operated or hands-free. There are exceptions to the law if the vehicle is in a stationary postion and outside a lane of travel. It will also allow emergency calls to 9-1-1. For drivers under 18, the law is a primary offense. The 1st violation will net teens a $150.00 fine and a license suspension of 60 days. The 2nd, and any subsequent violations, will net a fine of $300.00 and the loss of the license for one year. For adult drivers, those 18 and older, it is illegal to write, send or read a text while driving in Ohio. The law does not prohibit adult drivers from talking on cell phones and it does permit the use of GPS devices that are not hands-free. This portion of the law is a secondary offense meaning that law enforcement can only stop you after observing that you have committed another traffic violation. For adult drivers, an infraction will net you a possible fine of up to $150.00.
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