During 2012-2015, more than 13,000 traffic deaths nationwide were due to distracted driving. It is believed that distracted drivers are 23 times more likely to get into a traffic accident as compared to those who are completely focused on the road.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that there were 302,307 motor vehicle crashes in Ohio in 2015. These crashes resulted in 1,110 fatalities. 22 of these fatalities were attributed to drivers who were distracted by their phones, texting, emailing or other electronic communications. 17 of the fatalities were due to drivers who were distracted by things inside their vehicle other than smartphones while 13 fatalities were the result of drivers who were distracted by things outside their vehicle. A total of 6,667 injuries were attributed to distracted driving in Ohio in 2015.
You can be charged with distracted driving if you demonstrate any of these three types of activities:
- looking away from the road
- removing your hands from the steering wheel
- paying attention to something else
What Are Ohio’s Texting and Driving Laws?
In Ohio, driving while texting is considered a secondary offense. While a distracted driver can be pulled over, in most cases officers are required to witness another violation before they do so. In Ohio, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using any type of wireless communication device. This includes all hands-free devices as well. All drivers are prohibited from texting and driving. However, drivers over the age of 18 are allowed to use wireless devices for emergency purposes such as contacting law enforcement, healthcare providers, or the fire department. Drivers can also read data from their wireless device for navigation purposes or to receive emergency weather or traffic information. Texting while driving carries a fine of up to $150. Drivers under the age of 18 can be fined for $150 and can also have their license suspended for a period of 60 days if it’s the first offense and for one year for any subsequent offenses.
However, Toledo, OH has recently implemented a new program which is expected to follow a more aggressive approach towards texting drivers. The city officers now have permission to ticket distracted drivers under a separate statute which makes distracted driving a primary offense. The new program is designed to penalize drivers who operate their vehicle in wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
Drivers can now be cited if they are found to be using electronic devices that result in the driver diverting their eyes off the road or becoming distracted to an extent that they put other people’s safety at risk. Talking on the phone may not fulfill this criterion but texting or using a mapping app could certainly qualify. When one is texting, one is actually doing all three activities that are considered distracted driving – their eyes are off the road, they are paying attention to something else and their hands are off the steering wheel. This is an open violation of the law and demonstrates a complete disregard for the safety of others on the road. It has also been observed that drivers who have a tendency to text while driving are also more prone to commit other offenses such as weaving through lanes.
Is Distracted Driving Dangerous for Ohio Drivers?
Distracted driving is a major problem on the roads today. Not only is distracted driving dangerous for the driver himself but also for other people who happen to be on the same roads as them. The Annual AAA Foundation traffic safety culture index reports that 81.1% of drivers believe distraction is a serious problem and is a behavior that makes them feel unsafe on the roads. Nearly 50% of the people included in the survey reported that they feel less safe on the roads today as compared to five years ago mainly because of an increase in the number of distracted drivers on the road. The AAA Foundation report also finds that drivers between the ages of 19-24 are more likely to read or type text messages behind the wheel. This group of drivers is also most likely to approve of such behavior. Overall, 40.2% of drivers were reported to have read a text or email while driving in the past 30 days.
The problem is that drivers today suffer from what is being called FOMA or the “fear of missing out” on something really crucial. For teenage drivers especially, this crucial thing could simply be meeting friends for an ice-cream. Drivers who are on the road today constantly struggle with multitasking and that is why so many people try to do too many things at once. However, this approach, when driving, can often prove to be very serious or even deadly in some cases. The best advice for all drivers is to put their phone away. Either put it on silent if you know you will get distracted if you receive notifications or shut it off completely. That one text, which you deem extremely important, may not be important at all when you weigh in the potential risk that is associated with this seemingly minor activity.
Meet with a Toledo Accident Attorney to Discuss Your Distracted Driving Case
If you have been in a car accident that is a result of distracted driving and you need legal assistance, call us now at Chester Law Group and we will do our best to assist you. Our legal team is here to help you deal with any losses you may have incurred and to ensure that you are adequately compensated for them. Distracted driving is a serious problem which continues to become worse with each passing day. Our lawyers understand the system and we are aware of how officers in Toledo are becoming increasingly vigilant of drivers who demonstrate any signs of distracted driving. If you need assistance, please contact one of our personal injury lawyers at 1-800-218-4243 today. Our experienced associates will discuss the specifics of the accident and will guide you on how you should proceed further to ensure you are able to deal with the situation effectively.