Distracted Driving in Ohio – What you Need to Know

As of April 4th this year it is now illegal to use or hold a cell phone or electronic device while driving. This includes in your hand, lap, or other parts of your body. There are some exceptions to this, but the new legislation is much more expansive than how previous law dealt with distracted driving.

Now being over a month in we have seen some of the initial effects of this legislation. According to Cambridge Mobile Telematics, the ban has reduced distracted driving by 8%, preventing about 300 crashes. We presume this will increase as awareness raises and enforcement continues.

But what exactly is this new law? And how will this affect your agency?

What’s Off-Limits?

  • Browsing the Internet
  • Dialing a phone number
  • Playing Games
  • Recording or Streaming Video
  • Sending a Text
  • Scrolling social media
  • Video Calls or Facetime
  • Watching Videos

These provisions are also now primary offences, so you can be pulled over if your observed doing any of the above violations. For drivers under the age of 18, they are still restricted from using their devices in any way, including hands-free features.

What’s Permitted?

  • Drivers reporting an emergency to law enforcement, a hospital, health care provider, fire department or similar emergency.
  • Drivers holding a phone to their ear only during phone conversations if the call is started or stopped with a single touch or swipe.
  • Drivers holding or using cell phones and other electronic devices while stopped at a traffic light or parked on a road or highway during an emergency or road closure.
  • First responders (law enforcement, fire, EMS), using electronic devices as part of their official duties.
  • Utility workers operating utility vehicles in certain emergency or outage situations.
  • Licensed operators using an amateur radio.
  • Commercial truck drivers using a mobile data terminal.

Now this law is clearly much more expansive than previous law. But how will this affect your agency? CMT which has measured the impacts on multiple states with similar laws have said on average we see a 13% reduction in phone motion distraction. This means less accidents and less claims. A win for the consumer and your business.

If you have any questions about the new law, its affects on your agency or how it affects your clients please contact John Wells at john@ohioinsuranceagents.com with questions.

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