A new law to deter against distracted driving has come into effect in Ohio.
Under House Bill 95, law enforcement officers no longer need to prove a driver is texting, but only that a moving violation has occurred and the driver was distracted at the time.
The law requires an enhanced financial penalty in addition to existing fines or alternatively the completion of a distracted driver course, for drivers who commit a specific traffic violation while distracted. For example, a driver operating a vehicle outside marked lanes who is also engaging in a distracted behavior, will face an enhanced fine of up to $100 in addition to a fine for the lane violation. Other violations such as red light, stop sign, speeding, and other moving violations similarly would result in potentially higher fines.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety has created a distracted driver course for offenders who plead guilty or are convicted of a specific traffic violation while distracted. The course is available in lieu of paying the enhanced court fine of $100 or less, providing the offender pays the total amount of the fine established by the violation and submits written evidence of completion of the distracted driver course.