Ohio Governor John Kasich Signs HB 99, Which Prohibits Text Messaging While Driving in Ohio

On June 1, 2012, Governor John Kasich signed HB 99, which prohibits text messaging while driving a vehicle and the use of any wireless electronic communication by a minor driver.

The act specifically does the following:

  • Prohibits driving a vehicle while using a handheld electronic communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication and makes the violation a secondary traffic offense with ten exemptions, including using the device for emergency purposes, a person driving a public safety vehicle who uses such a device in the course of the person's duties, and using a device for navigation purposes.
  • Prohibits a person under 18 from using, in any manner, an electronic wireless communications device while driving, with three exemptions: (1) use in an emergency, (2) when the person's vehicle is stationary and is outside a lane of travel, and (3) using a hands-free navigation device and if the person does not manipulate the device while driving.
  • Provides that for the first six months after the effective date of the bill no ticket, citation, or summons may be issued for a violation of both prohibitions established by the bill, only a warning that provides information about the prohibitions.
  • Requires the classroom portion of driver's education to include instruction in the dangers of driving while using an electronic communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.

The act becomes effective on August 31, 2012.

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