What is the new distracted driving law in Ohio?

Ohio has introduced a unique penal law penalizing drivers who use their mobile phones while driving. Distracted driving has become a significant problem throughout the entire United States. To address this issue, Ohio becomes the first state to regularise distracted driving under Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.204 via introducing the new law ‘Driving While Texting’ (further referred to as “Law“), which came into effect on April 4, 2023.


In 2022, Ohio recorded over 10,000 (ten thousand) car crash cases of distracted driving, resulting in more than 100 deaths and introducing the said law was the need of the hour. This law shows Ohio’s commitment to making the roads safer with the slogan “PHONES DOWN. IT’S THE LAW.”.


The State of Ohio introduced penalties, fines, and license suspension and other similar sanctions for the violators. The Ohio State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement will issue warnings for the first six months to create awareness of the law and educate citizens to be more attentive on the road while driving. Ohio sent off an extensive campaign to educate individuals about the perils of distracted driving and to teach them the new regulation. The objective is to change individuals’ opinions about distracted driving and cause them to feel responsible.


Firstly, it bans using handheld electronic devices while driving, like texting or browsing the internet. Secondly, the law also covers other distractions like eating, grooming, or other similar activities that take a driver’s attention away from the road.


New Ohio driving laws: things not allowed/prohibited


  • Dialing a Phone number
  • Sending a text message
  • Updating or browsing social media
  • Video conferencing or video calling
  • Browsing the internet
  • Watching videos
  • Playing games
  • Recording or streaming videos


Thirdly, the penalties Depending on the seriousness of the violation, those violating these rules can face penalties like fines, points on their driver’s license, or even suspension of their license temporarily. These punishments are meant to stop people from driving negligently. But Ohio’s law doesn’t stop at punishment. It also focuses on education and awareness.


The New Motor Law of Ohio:

Ohio’s recently enacted law represents a substantial and far-reaching augmentation of the state’s prior statutes, establishing it as one of the nation’s most stringent regulatory frameworks.


The state has implemented a zero-tolerance policy against distracted driving and activities of a similar nature that diverts the driver’s attention from the road.


Noteworthy is the breadth of applicability inherent in this legislation. The law covers all drivers regardless of age or experience behind the wheel. Moreover, it is unpredictable as to the type of road upon which a vehicle is driven. The prohibitions apply uniformly, whether it be a busy expressway, urban streets or rural roads. An exemption to this law lies in private property, whereby it does not extend its arms over venues such as parking lots or residential driveways.


Penalties Imposed By the New Law

For first-time offenders, the monetary punishment of up to $150 and the imposition of two negative points on their driver’s license.


In the event a defaulter commits the same offence within two years of their first offence, they will face a fine of $250 and three negative points on their license.


If the defaulter is found violating the law thrice or more within two years, a fine of $500, along with 4 negative points on the defaulter’s driver’s license, shall be imposed. Apart from the fine and points imposed on the license, the driver’s license shall also be suspended for 90 days.


This newly enacted legislation against distracted driving represents a commendable step towards this 21st century’s issue of distracted driving. Its clarity and comprehensiveness empower law enforcement agencies to administer its provisions with precision and efficacy.



The enactment of Ohio’s new distracted driving law represents a momentous stride in the ongoing battle against this dangerous behaviour that jeopardizes the safety of both drivers and pedestrians simultaneously. This clear and comprehensive law gives law enforcement the tools they need to enforce it effectively. It is also supported by many cases showing how distracted driving can be dangerous for public safety.