Put that phone down, new Ohio law starts April 4

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 7:59 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 3, 2023 at 11:14 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Starting this week, Ohio drivers can be pulled over by police if you are holding and using a cell phone for anything from making calls, texting or even streaming.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 288, known as the distracted driving law, in January and it goes into effect April 4, 2023.

The new law makes the use of a handheld cell phone a primary offense to be pulled over.

Before, an officer could not pull you over for the use of a phone unless it caused you to violate some other rule like speeding or failing to keep your car in your lane.

DeWine announced Monday that for the first six months offenders will be let off with a warning as they launch a campaign to try and make sure every driver is aware of the change.

You can still make calls from your car if it’s handsfree including;

  • Speakerphone
  • Earpiece
  • Wireless headset
  • Electronic watch
  • Connecting phone to vehicle

In most cases, anything more than a single touch or swipe is against the law.

Beginning in October, actual tickets will be issued and for a first offense it could be a $150 fine or a distracted driving course, a $250 fine for the second offense and $500 fine for the third offense within two years.

For all of the specifics you can visit the new website explaining the rare exceptions.