Ohio launched a statewide public relations campaign last week to draw attention to the state’s new distracted driving law that goes into effect Tuesday.
The law makes it illegal for anyone in the state to use or hold a cellphone or electronic device while driving.
“Distracted driving crashes aren’t accidents, they’re the result of drivers who make the choice to divert their attention away from the road and risk their lives and the lives of everyone around them,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “Far too many people have been seriously injured and killed in Ohio because of poor choices behind the wheel, and we are certain that this new law will influence positive changes in behavior and save lives as a result.”
The campaign includes a new website, billboards, printable posters, fact sheets, presentation slides, tip cards and ads.
On Jan. 2, as previously reported by the Informer, DeWine signed the distracted driving bill into law.
It designates the use of cellphones and other electronic communications devices while driving as a primary traffic offense for all drivers and allows law enforcement to immediately pull over a distracted driver upon witnessing a violation.
Previously, only juvenile drivers could be pulled over for using a cellphone.
Drivers can still use their devices when they are parked or stopped at a red light, and they can swipe their phones to answer a call and hold their phones to their ears during phone conversations. Emergency calls are also allowed.
Law enforcement will issue warnings for the first six months beginning Tuesday. Then, law enforcement can issue citations. Penalties include a fine of up to $150 for a driver’s first offense and two points on their license unless a distracted driving safety course is completed.