Ohio Laws Designed To Discourage Distracted Driving

September 10, 2019 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
Ohio Laws Designed To Discourage Distracted Driving

Distracted driving continues to lead to countless accidents and serious injuries, and, unfortunately, preventable deaths. One way that legislators have attempted to deal with the problem is by passing laws giving police officers the authority to pull drivers over for texting and driving – it has been almost one year since Bill 95 became law and gave officers this authority. If you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact one of our knowledgeable Cincinnati car accident attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy to see if we may be able to help you pursue compensation.

Ohio Bill 95

On October 29, 2018, House Bill 95 took effect. The bill updated Section 4511.204 of the Ohio Revised Code to allow police officers to issue citations to drivers who are talking or texting on the phone. Before this bill took effect, law enforcement officers needed to prove a driver was texting. However, under the new law, officers just need to prove a moving violation occurred and the driver was distracted. The updates to the law apply to motorists operating any type of motor vehicle while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text while on a street, highway or any other public property where vehicles travel. The changes to the law do not apply to drivers who use hands-free devices or have their device on speaker phone. The change to the law also does not assign points to an offending driver’s license. Violators of the law are issued a citation for a $100 fine and charged with a minor misdemeanor.

Previous Distracted Driving Laws In Ohio

Ohio passed a texting and driving law in 2013 that allowed police officers to pull over anyone under the age of 18 suspected of texting and driving. However, the law only allowed officers to pull over people over 18 for texting and driving if they noticed some other kind of traffic violation. Drivers under the age of 18 who violated the law faced a fine of up to $150 and six-month suspension of their license. Another offense doubled the fine and license suspension time.

Types Of Distractions For Drivers

Distracted driving is not only using a mobile phone while operating a vehicle. Even though this is one of the most common causes of distracted driving accidents, a motorist’s concentration and attention can also be affected in many other ways. Different forms of distracted driving can be cognitive, manual or visual. Below, you will find brief examples and explanations of the three main types of distracted driving.


Cognitive distracted driving happens when the driver’s mind is not focused on the task of safely operating his or her vehicle. Have you ever been driving and then 10 minutes later you realize that you cannot remember one or more portions of your trip? This is an example of cognitive distracted driving. You were likely thinking intently about something other than operating your vehicle safely. Your mind checked out for a couple of minutes and it could have been disastrous.


Manual distractions are anything that causes the driver to remove his or her hands from the steering wheel. From scratching your head or buttoning a shirt to eating or covering your mouth to sneeze, you have less control over your vehicle if something unexpected, like a tire blowout, happens on the road. Texting messages, replying to emails or answering a call are among some of the most dangerous types of manual distractions for drivers.


Visual distractions occur anytime a driver takes his or her eyes off the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during those few seconds when you glance away from the road, you have traveled the full length of a football field if you were going at least 55 miles per hour. A lot might have happened in those few seconds that could have led to a serious or fatal accident.  People often take their eyes off the road to quickly check a text message, see who called, look at a passenger while talking to them, programming their GPS, changing the radio station, or playing around with anything else in the car. These and other visual distractions put you, your passengers and anyone else traveling on the road around you at risk. By avoiding these and other distractions while driving, there is a greater likelihood that you will be able to see and avoid potential road hazards, such as construction, a traffic accident or an object in the road.  Consider turning off your cellphone or using a hands-free device, eating before setting off in the car, programming your GPS ahead of time and pulling over to a safe area to deal with a problem, such as a heated argument or crying child.

Injured By A Distracted Driver? Call An Experienced Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a distracted driving car accident, you should seek legal representation from an experienced Cincinnati personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If you have a valid case, our team is ready to investigate the accident and build a case to pursue compensation for your injuries.