October 23, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- When Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 99 in June, Ohio became the 39th state to enact a law banning texting while driving to reduce motor vehicle accidents
. The law took effect at the end of August, and a six-month-long warning period will allow law enforcement to warn distracted drivers
until officers are eventually allowed to issue citations.
Ohio's law against texting while driving provides that no driver shall use a handheld electronic wireless communication device to compose, transmit or review text messages. For most drivers, the law creates a secondary offense, meaning that law enforcement cannot pull over a person without separate justification such as a speeding violation or other traffic infraction.
For holders of probationary licenses and drivers under 18 with temporary instruction permits, the law creates a broader primary offense for using a cell phone or other electronic device in any manner. The law provides several exceptions from enforcement for all drivers:
- Calling or texting for emergency purposes is permitted, including calls to police, state troopers, hospitals, fire departments and 911
- A person who is parked outside a lane of travel is exempt from the bans
- Using a voice-operated or hands-free navigation device is allowed
- The secondary offense does not apply to use of an electronic device in the course of work duties, including commercial truck drivers who transmit and receive data
The chief official behind federal efforts to draw attention to distracted driving hazards, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, commended Ohio lawmakers' efforts by noting that he was "especially encouraged by their focus on young drivers, who are more likely to engage in distracted driving."
Identifying the Worst Distracted Driving Risks
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains an extensive online overview of distracted driving research
, which includes statistics that identify the worst car and truck accident
hazards posed by distracted drivers. The latest report provides survey results from last year demonstrating that young drivers are most likely to be involved in a crash while using a cell phone.
The survey also revealed that far too many drivers believe that texting is dangerous but talking on the phone makes no difference in their driving abilities. Research strongly suggests that this is a major misconception, because talking on even a hands-free phone has been shown to significantly impair a driver's ability to focus on the road ahead.
Whether or not distracted drivers break the law, they can be held liable for the injuries, deaths and property damage they cause. An Ohio personal injury lawyer can explain strategies for proving that a distracted driver caused an accident that harmed a motorist, motorcyclist, pedestrian, bicyclist or passenger.
Article provided by Stein, Chapin & Associates, LLC
Visit us at www.steinchapin.com---
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