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Drivers, put down that cell phone! Ohio texting and driving ban takes effect Friday, Aug. 31

Texting and driving no longer legal in Ohio

A statewide ban on texting while driving takes effect in Ohio on Friday, Aug. 31. Contact the personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk if you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver.

Between 2009 and 2011, 31,231 accidents in Ohio involved distracted drivers, state police say. Those wrecks led to 74 deaths and 7,825 injuries. But if you live in Ohio and those sobering statistics are not enough incentive, you soon will have one more reason to put down your cell phone while you are driving.

Ohio's texting while driving ban goes into effect on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012 - 90 days after Gov. John Kasich signed the bill on June 1. A six-month warning period will follow.

For adults, texting while driving is a secondary violation, meaning that police need another reason to stop and cite violators, such as weaving or speeding.

For drivers under the age of 18, however, texting and use of other portable electronic devices will be a primary offense. That means minors can be stopped and ticketed for any use of a cell phone while driving.

Fines for adult violators are $150. For teen violators, fines top out at $300 with possible loss of the driver's license.

Ohio is the 39th state to enact a texting while driving ban, and the first state with a full hand-held electronic communications device ban for minors.

Many Ohio cities already have laws on the books that ban texting while driving, including Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Parma Heights, Beachwood, Delaware, Belpre, Woodmere, Berea and Zanesville. The new statewide texting law will not override local legislation that calls for stiffer penalties or enforcement.

The Ohio personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk have seen countless cases of distracted drivers causing serious injuries and even death as a result of their negligence. That's why we believe this ban is a positive step, especially the complete ban on use of electronic devices by minors.

Teenagers have the highest crash risk of any age group and a recent study by the AAA foundation for Traffic Safety found that electronic devices are the leading cause of distraction among teenage drivers. The same study found that nearly half of drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 admitted to texting while driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a distracted driver, contact the Ohio injury lawyers of Elk & Elk to determine if you're entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO today or fill out or no-cost, no-obligation online consultation form.