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What Counts as Distracted Driving in Ohio?

Distracted driving is one the leading causes of accidents in Ohio and across the country. You may have noticed other drivers engaging in various types of dangerous behavior while behind the wheel, such as texting, looking at Facebook, streaming movies or inputting an address into a GPS program. You probably also noticed that these distracting behaviors can lead to dangerous driving, such as swerving and driving at erratic speeds.

Ohio recently took steps to make laws tougher on distracted drivers and to increase the penalties for people caught texting and driving. Now, drivers will face penalties associated with a moving violation, as well as a fine. However, instead of paying the additional fine, drivers can choose to take a course about safe driving. The intent of this course is to educate offenders about the dangers of any type of distracted driving.

Keeping Ohio roads safe

There are many different types of behavior that qualify as distracted driving. While cell phone use is one of the main kinds, things like putting on make-up, eating, adjusting the radio and inputting an address in a GPS can be just as dangerous. Ohio laws now recognize distracted driving as any behavior that impairs a driver's ability to safely drive a motor vehicle.

Updates and changes in the law now mean that law enforcement has great discretion when determining whether a driver is distracted. Some of the things that may result in a traffic stop include the following.

  • Checking email on the phone

  • Watching or streaming movies

  • Reading something

  • Turning to talk or help children or passengers

  • Texting while stopped at an intersection

  • Putting on make-up

  • Using a hands-free system to make phone calls

  • Eating while driving

Any type of distracted driving can have grave consequences. Thousands of people die in distraction-related accidents every year, and hundreds of thousands suffer injuries. Even just a few seconds of distraction can result an accident that leaves innocent people with critical or fatal injuries.

Holding drivers accountable

There is no excuse for distracted driving, and people who cause accidents due to their reckless or negligent behavior are responsible for damages they cause. You may be a victim who is suffering after a distracted driving accident, but you do not have to suffer alone. You may find it beneficial to discuss your legal options with an attorney who can help you pursue appropriate compensation for your pain and suffering.