COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohioâ€™s statewide ban on texting while driving takes effect today, after a 60-day warning period to increase awareness among motorists.
Supporters of the law say a driver is 23 times more likely to crash while texting and driving, which takes their eyes off the road for about five seconds. At 55 mph, a vehicle can cover the length of a football field in that time, the US Department of Transportation says.
For adult drivers, it is Illegal to use a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text while driving.
Exceptions include using pre-programmed GPS systems, vehicles in a stationary position and outside a lane of travel and emergency calls to law enforcement, hospitals or fire departments.
It is a secondary offense, meaning police cannot pull drivers over merely for texting.
Violators could face a fine of up to $150.
Driver under 18 are prohibited from using any electronic wireless communications device.
That includes texting, e-mailing, talking cell phones, Bluetooth, On-Star or any similar device.
About 50 percent of teens surveyed admit to texting while driving, according to an AT&T Poll taken in 2012.
For drivers under 18, it is a primary offense, meaning police can stop them for any of the violations.
Using computers, laptops, tablets, video game and GPS systems — unless they are voice-operated or hands-free â€“ are also prohibited to younger drivers, even when you sitting at a light or stuck in traffic
The first violation brings a $150 fine and 60-day license suspension. Each subsequent violation will cost the driver a $300 fine and a one-year suspension.