According to one smartphone study, distracted driving has decreased in Ohio since the April 4 law was signed into law.
TOLEDO, Ohio — You may be seeing more ads telling you to put down your phone while driving, all part of an effort to reduce distractions while driving.
According to data taken from smartphones by a software company Cambridge Mobile Telematicsdistracted driving decreased by 9.1% after Ohio’s new pickpocket ban went into effect on April 4.
This makes holding a phone while driving illegal and a major traffic offence. Judy Converse, public information officer for the Ohio Office of Highway Traffic Safety, said drivers have some time to adjust to the new rules.
“Right now, if you get pulled over for distracted driving, you can only get a written warning from the police officer,” Converse said. “Starting in October, you can actually get a ticket.”
Converse said a first offense is two points on your license and a fine of up to $150. The second is three points and up to $250. Three or more violations are four counts and a fine of up to $500 with a potential 90-day license suspension.
But a Road safety course provides one exception to remove your first fine and points.
“It’s a one-hour online course on distracted driving,” Converse said. “A driver can only do this once in a lifetime.”
Truck driver Sherry Reeves uses a headset to stay alert. She said she has noticed an increase in distracted drivers and that there is a zero-tolerance policy for talking on the phone.
“You’re going to get caught for that. You’re going to get a pretty big fine,” Reeves said. “Our fines are higher than normal civil rights.”
Converse said that when the law officially goes into effect on October 5th, they are going to relaunch “The phone doesn’t work. It’s the law” company.
The Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio Department of Public Safety said the company should remind drivers that they will face serious consequences if they use their phones.
“The longer this campaign goes on, the more people it will reach, and we’re really hoping for those numbers [9.1%] will drop even further,” Converse said.