Ohio’s New Distracted Driving Law Goes Into Effect

Effective April 04, 2023, a new state law in Ohio makes it illegal for Ohio drivers to use or hold a mobile or other electronic device in their hand, lap, or other body parts while driving. Before the new law took effect, distracted driving was considered as a primary offense only for juvenile drivers. Under the new law, traffic officers can even pull over adult drivers for distracted driving.


Prohibitions Under The New Law


Subject to certain exceptions, any activity that involves holding, using, or supporting a mobile phone or other electronic devices is illegal under the new law. Some examples of such activities include:


  • Sending a text message
  • Dialing a phone number
  • Video calls
  • Browsing the internet
  • Using social media
  • Watching, recording, or streaming videos
  • Playing games

Exceptions Under The New Law


  • Drivers above the age of 18 can make or answer a call using hands-free or Bluetooth devices. However, generally, anything above a single touch or swipe will be considered illegal under the new law.
  • Reporting an emergency to law enforcement, hospital, fire department, healthcare provider, or another emergency authority.
  • Holding or using a mobile phone or other electronic devices when the vehicle is stopped at a traffic light or parked on a road or highway during an emergency or road closure.
  • Use of electronic devices by first responders as part of their official duties.
  • Use of mobile data terminal by commercial truck drivers.
  • Use of amateur radio by licensed operators.
  • Use of utility vehicles by utility workers in emergency or outage situations.


The new law allows drivers above 18 to speak on the phone while driving using “hands-free technology.” However, if they need to manually operate the device, for example, to enter letters, numbers, or symbols, they cannot do so while driving. They must pull over to a safe place to physically manipulate the mobile phone or another electronic device.


Penalties under the new law can include fines up to $500 and license suspension. Those who violate the law in a construction zone can be subjected to twice the amount otherwise applicable.


Distracted Driving and Personal Injury

If an accident occurs due to distracted driving, the negligent driver can also be sued by the victim or injured person. The injured person can file a personal injury claim and seek compensation from the at-fault party. To make a successful claim, the victim must be able to show that the driver who indulged in distracted driving was negligent and that the accident was a result of such negligence. Compensation can be claimed for medical and hospital bills, lost wages, future loss of income, and pain and suffering.


If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to another driver’s negligence, contact the experienced distracted driving personal injury lawyers at Mark Ziccarelli Law today to know more about your legal rights.