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Petersen & Petersen helps to End Distracted Driving in Northeast Ohio.

Petersen & Petersen helps to End Distracted Driving in Northeast Ohio.

If your deposition was taken tomorrow, how would you answer the following?
Have you ever read an email while driving? Have you ever typed a text while going down the road? Have you read a text while you are pushing on the gas pedal? How many times in the last week were you guilty of distracted driving? Have you ever lost control of your car — even if for just a second — because your eyes left the road to look at your phone? Were your kids even in the car to witness any of the above? Do you know someone who was hurt as a result of distracted driving?

Ohio’s No-Texting Laws

Ohio’s texting ban went into effect in August of 2012, but really did not begin to impact Ohio’s drivers until March of 2013, when officers were permitted to issue citations rather than warnings. In the first year after the texting-while-driving ban took effect in Ohio, Ohio State Highway Patrol officers pulled over 230 adults and 43 teenagers for using electronics while driving. In 2013, there were more than 371 crashes involving texting in Ohio. Those crashes caused 6 deaths, 128 injuries, and 227 incidents of property damage.

According to the Ohio Revised Code §4511.205, any driver younger than age 18, is banned from texting, emailing, talking on a phone (even if it has a wireless device like a Bluetooth attached), using a computer, playing video games or using a GPS (unless it is voice operated or hands free). For minors, the offense is a primary one, meaning that law enforcement officials can stop the driver on suspicions of distracted driving. A first violation of the texting law will result in a $150 fine and license suspension of 60 days. A second offense is a $300 fine and a license suspension for a year. For adults, §4511.204 simply states that it is illegal to use a handheld device to write, send or read a text message. It is a secondary offense similar to the seatbelt law, meaning adults can only be cited for texting if they were initially pulled over for a different traffic violation.

End Distracted Driving

As part of Petersen & Petersen’s mission to make Northeast Ohio a safer place to live and work, the firm is helping the Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys’ (“CATA”) community initiative to end distracted driving.
Petersen and fellow members of the CATA Community Outreach Committee have officially joined more than 850 attorneys (along with judges and other safety advocates) from all 50 states in the U.S. and Canada who have pledged to give safety presentations on distracted driving to local high schools, community groups and civic organizations.

As part of our effort, Petersen & Petersen asks this pledge from you: Do your
part. Lead by example. Next time you get behind the wheel, put your phone away. Don’t look at that email. Resist checking Facebook or your inbox. Don’t contribute to the problem. Don’t text and drive…period. Together we can save lives.

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