What is Ohio Doing to Combat Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving occurs when a driver’s attention is diverted away from the task of driving. This can include texting, eating, adjusting the radio, talking to passengers, or looking at something or someone outside of the car. Distracted driving is a dangerous behavior that contributes to thousands of vehicle crashes each year. In fact, it’s estimated that around 3,000 people die every year as a result of a distracted driving incident. This accounts for a staggering 8 to 9 percent of all fatal car accidents in the U.S. alone. That’s why Ohio has taken steps to combat this deadly behavior.
Ohio’s New Cell Phone Use Laws
One of the major contributors to distracted driving is cell phone use. Cell phones are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to taking a driver’s attention away from the road. To address this issue, Ohio has implemented strict laws regarding cell phone use while driving.
In April of 2023, a law went into effect allowing law enforcement officers to stop drivers if they see them using a cell phone while behind the wheel, by making this type of activity a “primary offense.” This includes any type of use of a cell phone, such as texting, browsing the internet, using social media, using GPS, or even using the speakerphone. Drivers are only allowed to use a cell phone if they are speaking to somebody, and the phone is up to their ear.
For the first six months, drivers caught using a cell phone while driving only received warnings. However, that grace period ended on October 4, 2023. Now, drivers caught violating the law are subject to a fine of $150 for the first offense. If it’s a second offense, the driver will be fined $250 and have three points added to their license. If the driver is caught for a third time, they will face a $500 fine and four points on their license — and they could receive up to a 90-day suspension of their driver’s license.
It’s also important to mention that although drivers may be pulled over on suspicion of distracted driving, law enforcement officers can also charge drivers for additional offenses if any other laws have been broken. For example, if it’s found that the driver was also speeding or driving recklessly while using their cell phone, additional fines and penalties may be imposed.
The Impact of Ohio’s Recent Legislation
It appears that Ohio’s new distracted driving laws have already had a positive impact. Since the law came into effect on April 4, 2023, there has been a noticeable decrease in the number of distracted driving incidents. According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there has been a 16% decrease in distracted driving crashes when comparing the first 9 months of 2022 to the first 9 months of 2023 and fatalities caused by distracted driving have also declined by nearly 25 percent during the same time period.This legislation has also brought more awareness to the dangers of distracted driving and has caused more drivers to put their phones down while behind the wheel. As more and more things compete for attention as we drive our cars, it’s crucial for laws to evolve with the times in order to protect drivers by preventing accidents caused by distracted driving.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
While Ohio’s new cell phone use laws may seem strict, they serve an important purpose in combating distracted driving. The dangers of distracted driving are real and can have severe consequences. Not only does it put the driver at risk, but also passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers on the road. In fact, studies on distracted driving had previously shown that texting while driving increases the risk of getting into a car crash by 23 times. The statistics are staggering, and the consequences can be deadly.
Additionally, distracted driving is not just limited to cell phone use. As mentioned earlier, any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road can be considered distracted driving. This includes eating while driving, adjusting the radio or GPS, conversations with passengers, or checking out someone or something interesting outside of the vehicle. It’s important for drivers to be aware of these dangers and make a conscious effort to avoid being distracted while behind the wheel.
Have You Been in a Distracted Driving-Related Accident?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a distracted driving-related accident, it’s important to seek legal help immediately. At the Arthur Law Firm, we can help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. We understand the devastating effects of such accidents and are dedicated to helping victims get back on their feet.
Unfortunately, proving that the driver at fault was distracted can be a difficult task. This is where having an experienced and knowledgeable car accident lawyer on your side can make all the difference. Because cell phone data is purged quickly by cell phone carriers, the sooner we are retained, the sooner we can attempt to preserve this data. This will ensure that we are able to build as a strong case as possible to hold the responsible party accountable for their negligent actions. In turn, this will allow you to receive the compensation you deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Ohio’s efforts to combat distracted driving are essential in promoting safe roads for everyone. The state’s new cell phone use laws serve as a reminder to drivers to stay focused on the road, and the consequences for violating these laws are intended to deter dangerous behavior.
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and you suspect your accident to have been caused by distracted driving, do not hesitate to call Arthur Law Firm. To schedule a free consultation, contact us right away (419)-782-9881. We know what you are up against, and you don’t have to fight this alone.