Hands-Free Ohio law would ban talking, using GPS behind the wheel
It’s already illegal to text and drive in Ohio but if Governor Mike DeWine has his way, using any wireless device for anything in a vehicle will soon be against the law.
DeWine announced the new Hands-Free Ohio law that aims to toughen up Ohio’s laws about distracted driving.
“The use of wireless devices while driving has become so common that many drivers don’t stop to consider the deadly consequences,” said Governor DeWine. “Although Ohio’s current laws are well-intended, they simply haven’t gone far enough to change the culture around using technology behind the wheel.”
Under the new law, police will be able to pull a driver over for using any electronic device to write, send, or read texts or messages, watching or recording videos, taking or looking at photos, live streaming, entering information into your GPS, dialing a phone number or holding your phone for a call. You can still make a call in case of an emergency. It’s still okay to use a GPS but you must enter your destination into the system before you start driving. You are still permitted to make hand-free calls or to dictate or listen to text messages in hands-free mode. But you cannot hold your phone or support it with any part of your body.
Right now, sending or reading a text while driving is a secondary offense. That means you can’t be pulled over for it but you can be charged if you’re pulled over for something else like running a stop sign.
The Hands-Free Ohio bill will also have hefty fines for repeat offenders. If a distracted driver causes a serious injury or death, they’ll face punishments similar to those for drunk driving.