Distracted Driving Law and what it Means for You

Distracted Driving

Every episode of Pinky & the Brain featured the question, “what are we going to do today, Brain?” Always with the retort, “same thing we do every day, Pinky, try to take over the world!”

While you may not be trying to take over the world, one thing you should at least be thinking of doing—especially today—is putting the phone down while driving.

Look, I’m just as guilty. I use my phone for everything while I drive, from music, to making calls, to GPS. In fact, if it could drive for me, I’d happily let it. That said, like many of you, I prefer to spend money on adventures, rather than fines and insurance companies. Are you looking to save money on your car insurance? Here’s a helpful tip—drop the phone and drive.

April 4, 2023, marks the beginning of a new era in Ohio with the passage of Senate Bill 288, otherwise known as the Distracted Driving Law. This bill says you can be pulled over by police if they see you holding your phone for any reason, from making calls or texting to searching for your favorite song on Apple Music. The Distracted Driving Law is part of an overall effort to curb a dangerous behavior that has caused over 10,000 automobile accidents in 2022.

Prior to the Distracted Driving Law, police could not pull you over for being on the phone unless it caused a primary violation, such as crossing lane lines, running red lights, or speeding. Beginning today, this becomes a primary offense. Counting as a moving violation, using your phone while driving results in progressively increased fines, and potential dramatic increases to your car insurance premiums. First-time violators will be given a choice of $150 fine or partaking in a distracted driving course. Fines for subsequent offenses increase to $250 for the second ticket, to $500 for a third violation within a two-year span.

The good news is, Ohio’s governmental officials understand that not everyone will be immediately aware of this new law, and has granted a 6-month reprieve. During the first 6-months of the Distracted Driving Law, you will be given a warning if pulled over for phone usage while driving. This effort is to educate drivers of the change so they may rectify their behavior moving forward. Beginning October 4, 2023, tickets will be issued for violation of this law.

As insurance costs continue to increase, use your knowledge of Ohio’s new Distracted Driving Law to help negate some of that. It’s a simple rule, really—focus on driving while you’re driving. Your phone will still be there for you when you park. As always, your friends at Richey-Barrett Insurance are looking out for you and helping find ways to counter potential increases to your insurance costs.

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