DeWine reaffirms provision to make handling any device while driving an offense

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Even holding a device for a phone call would be an infraction

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is reaffirming his stance to make handling any electronic device while driving a primary offense.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is reaffirming his stance to make handling any electronic device while driving a primary offense.

As part of the “Hands-Free Ohio” initiative, DeWine in including in his Executive Budget proposal a provision that would make handling an electronic device while driving a primary offense for adult drivers. It would also increase fines for drivers who habitually use devices while driving.

If using the device while driving causes serious injury or death, the penalties will mirror those of drunk driving.

“Ohio’s current laws don’t go far enough to change the culture around distracted driving, and people are dying because of it,” DeWine said. “Distracted driving is a choice that must be as culturally unacceptable as drunk driving is today, and strengthening our current laws will lead to more responsible driving.” 

Governor DeWine’s Hands-Free Ohio provisions would prohibit several actions while driving, such as:

  • Writing, sending or reading text-based communications
  • Watching or recording videos
  • Taking photos or looking at images
  • Live streaming
  • Using apps
  • Entering information into GPS navigation programs
  • Dialing phone numbers
  • Holding a device for a phone call

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 2020 was the deadliest year on Ohio’s roads in over a decade, with 1,236 people killed in traffic crashes.

More than 100,000 distracted driving crashes have occurred in Ohio since 2013 resulting in more than 53,000 injuries, according to the Patrol.

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