Ohio Texting and Use of Devices In a Motor Vehicle
       

As of January 1, 2013, it is illegal for anyone to use a handheld communication device to write, send or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle. If a driver is under the age of 18, it is illegal to text, use cell phone or to use any other handheld electronical device while operating a motor vehicle. Below is the exact wording of the law, per the Ohio Revised Code.

 

Driving While Texting

 

4511.204 [Effective 8/31/2012] Driving while texting.

(A) No person shall drive a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.

(B) Division (A) of this section does not apply to any of the following:

(1) A person using a handheld electronic wireless communications device in that manner for emergency purposes, including an emergency contact with a law enforcement agency, hospital or health care provider, fire department, or other similar emergency agency or entity;

(2) A person driving a public safety vehicle who uses a handheld electronic wireless communications device in that manner in the course of the person’s duties;

(3) A person using a handheld electronic wireless communications device in that manner whose motor vehicle is in a stationary position and who is outside a lane of travel;

(4) A person reading, selecting, or entering a name or telephone number in a handheld electronic wireless communications device for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call;

(5) A person receiving wireless messages on a device regarding the operation or navigation of a motor vehicle; safety-related information, including emergency, traffic, or weather alerts; or data used primarily by the motor vehicle;

(6) A person receiving wireless messages via radio waves;

(7) A person using a device for navigation purposes;

(8) A person conducting wireless interpersonal communication with a device that does not require manually entering letters, numbers, or symbols or reading text messages, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate the device or a feature or function of the device;

(9) A person operating a commercial truck while using a mobile data terminal that transmits and receives data;

(10) A person using a handheld electronic wireless communications device in conjunction with a voice-operated or hands-free device feature or function of the vehicle.

(C) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no law enforcement officer shall cause an operator of an automobile being operated on any street or highway to stop the automobile for the sole purpose of determining whether a violation of division (A) of this section has been or is being committed or for the sole purpose of issuing a ticket, citation, or summons for a violation of that nature or causing the arrest of or commencing a prosecution of a person for a violation of that nature, and no law enforcement officer shall view the interior or visually inspect any automobile being operated on any street or highway for the sole purpose of determining whether a violation of that nature has been or is being committed.

(D) Whoever violates division (A) of this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

(E) This section shall not be construed as invalidating, preempting, or superseding a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance that prescribes penalties for violations of that ordinance that are greater than the penalties prescribed in this section for violations of this section.

(F) As used in this section:

(1) “Electronic wireless communications device” includes any of the following:

(a) A wireless telephone;

(b) A text-messaging device;

(c) A personal digital assistant;

(d) A computer, including a laptop computer and a computer tablet;

(e) Any other substantially similar wireless device that is designed or used to communicate text.

(2) “Voice-operated or hands-free device” means a device that allows the user to vocally compose or send, or to listen to a text-based communication without the use of either hand except to activate or deactivate a feature or function.

(3) “Write, send, or read a text-based communication” means to manually write or send, or read a text-based communication using an electronic wireless communications device, including manually writing or sending, or reading communications referred to as text messages, instant messages, or electronic mail.

Added by 129th General Assembly File No. 106, HB 99, § 1, eff. 8/31/2012.

See 129th General Assembly File No. 106, HB 99, §3.

 

Use Of Devices By Persons Under 18 Years Of Age

 

4511.205 [Effective 8/31/2012] Use of devices by persons under 18 years of age.

(A) No holder of a temporary instruction permit who has not attained the age of eighteen years and no holder of a probationary driver’s license shall drive a motor vehicle on any street, highway, or property used by the public for purposes of vehicular traffic or parking while using in any manner an electronic wireless communications device.

(B) Division (A) of this section does not apply to either of the following:

(1) A person using an electronic wireless communications device for emergency purposes, including an emergency contact with a law enforcement agency, hospital or health care provider, fire department, or other similar emergency agency or entity;

(2) A person using an electronic wireless communications device whose motor vehicle is in a stationary position and the motor vehicle is outside a lane of travel;

(3) A person using a navigation device in a voice-operated or hands-free manner who does not manipulate the device while driving.

(C)(1) Except as provided in division©(2) of this section, whoever violates division (A) of this section shall be fined one hundred fifty dollars. In addition, the court shall impose a class seven suspension of the offender’s driver’s license or permit for a definite period of sixty days.

(2) If the offender previously has been convicted of a violation of this section, whoever violates this section shall be fined three hundred dollars. In addition, the court shall impose a class seven suspension of the offender’s driver’s license or permit for a definite period of one year.

(D) As used in this section, “electronic wireless communications device” includes any of the following:

(1) A wireless telephone;

(2) A personal digital assistant;

(3) A computer, including a laptop computer and a computer tablet;

(4) A text-messaging device;

(5) Any other substantially similar electronic wireless device that is designed or used to communicate via voice, image, or written word.

Added by 129th General Assembly File No. 106, HB 99, § 1, eff. 8/31/2012.

See 129th General Assembly File No. 106, HB 99, §3.

 

 

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