A new Ohio law aimed at cutting down on distracted driving in the state went into effect on Oct. 29.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety says House Bill 95 will be a significant distracted driving deterrent and an effective tool for law enforcement to enforce dangerous driving.
To help combat distracted driving, the bill enhances existing moving violations to the extent that law enforcement officers no longer will need to prove a driver is texting, but only that a moving violation has occurred and the driver was distracted at the time, the DPS said.
The law requires an enhanced financial penalty in addition to existing fines or alternatively the completion of a distracted driver course, for drivers who commit a specific traffic violation while distracted.
For example, a driver operating a vehicle outside marked lanes who is also engaging in a distracted behavior, will face an enhanced fine of up to $100 in addition to a fine for the lane violation. Other violations such as red light, stop sign, speeding, and other moving violations similarly would result in potentially higher fines.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety was tasked with creating a distracted driver course for offenders who plead guilty or are convicted of a specific traffic violation while distracted. This course is available in lieu of paying the enhanced court fine of $100 or less, providing the offender pays the total amount of the fine established by the violation and submits written evidence of completion of the distracted driver course.
The one-hour course discusses what distracted driving is, who is a distracted driver, cell phone distractions, the risks and consequences of driving distracted, and combating distracted driving.
The distracted driver course can be found on the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s Driver Training website (https://www.drivertraining.ohio.gov).
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