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Facts About Distracted Driving

Facts About Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has long been a safety issue for drivers. Now, the use of mobile phones and electronics have made distracted driving a bigger problem than it has been in the past. Take a look at these facts and statistics about distracted driving, so you can be prepared to help keep yourself and others safe on the road.

The Facts 

  • In 2017 there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
  • Nine percent of fatal crashes in 2017 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
  • Six percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. Eight percent of drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal crashes.
  • In 2017 there were 599 nonoccupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, and others) killed in distraction-affected crashes

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Distracted Driving in Fatal Crashes, 2017

What are the distracted driving laws in Ohio?
In Ohio distracted driving is usually a secondary offense, which means that drivers must commit another traffic violation before they can get penalized for being distracted behind the wheel. However, distracted driving facts reveal that distractions can be unsafe for drivers regardless of whether or not they are committing other violations.

Distracted driving in Ohio is defined as any activity drivers do that may divert their attention from driving. Thus, all driving distractions increase drivers’ odds of getting involved in a car crash. Some dangerous distractions that drivers may succumb to are as follows:

  • Texting and driving
  • Talking to passengers, pedestrians or other drivers
  • Eating
  • Adjusting the radio or air controls


Distracted driving laws address the three main groups of distractions, including visual, manual and cognitive distractions. Because the CDC’s distracted driving facts reveal that texting is one of the most dangerous distractions drivers face, most legislation in Ohio focuses on texting behind the wheel. However, drivers must remember that various driving distractions exist that may pose similar dangers to drivers, passengers and pedestrians.


Distracted Driving Laws in Ohio for Handheld Devices
Under the distracted driving laws Ohio prohibits the use of handheld electronic devices for text communication. Any drivers who caused or were involved in distracted driving incidents will be penalized based on the level of distraction and incident. Handheld devices include wireless phones, text-messaging devices, personal digital assistants, a laptop computer, a computer tablet or iPad and any other wireless devices that are meant for text communication.

However, voice-operated and hands-free devices may be used while driving. Additionally, devices that are features of the vehicle may be used.


Texting and Driving Laws in Ohio
Texting while driving is not only dangerous but also illegal. Each year, texting and driving crashes are to blame for thousands of deaths nationwide. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 14 percent of the total 3,196 crashes in the U.S. in 2015 were caused by cellphone use. Texting and driving laws restrict drivers from using handheld devices to text while their vehicles are in motion and in the flow of traffic, but drivers should be aware that using hands-free technology does not eliminate the dangers of texting.


Ohio Laws on Distracted Driving for Novice Drivers
Drivers younger than 18 years of age (i.e., novice drivers) are especially vulnerable to driving distractions and may not have the experience necessary to combat the temptation of their phones. Therefore, distracted driving laws dictate that novice drivers, especially those with learner’s permits, must refrain from all cell phone use while driving to aid in the prevention of crashes and near-crash events. This includes talking on their phones. Additionally, the hands-free technology exception does not apply to novice drivers.


Ohio Distracted Driving Regulations for CDL Holders
Those with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) are subject to the same laws against distracted driving that pertain to other drivers in the state. Consequently, a distracted driving ticket for texting may be issued to commercial drivers if they are suspected of committing another traffic violation. However, unlike most other drivers, commercial drivers may not use a handheld device to make voice calls. Only hands-free devices satisfy driving laws for CDL holders.


Distracted Driving Penalties in Ohio
To stop distracted driving, police enforce fines, including:



However, while distracted driving regulations remain similar throughout the state, penalties may vary. In Dublin, OH, distracted drivers are cited with a fourth-degree misdemeanor and receive 2 points on their driving records. Drivers may have to pay fines up to $250 and spend a maximum of 30 days in jail. Additionally, distracted driving is a primary offense in Dublin, which means police officers can stop inattentive drivers even if the drivers have not broken any other laws.

Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving
Distracted driving consequences can be harmful, even deadly, so drivers should prevent inattentive driving as much as possible. To learn how to avoid distracted driving accidents and problems, drivers may refer to this short list of ways to prevent them in OH:

  1. Get items ready for your drive. Place your purse, wallet, sunglasses and other items you may need to access while you drive within reach and set the radio and other settings before you begin your drive.
  2. Limit your use of hands-free devices. While legal in OH, they may still distract you from driving.
  3. Turn off your devices if necessary. Commit to no texting and driving for the duration of your commute to eliminate cell phone distraction and its consequences.
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