Ohio Texting and Driving Laws: Secondary Offense for Adults, Primary for Teens

There’s no doubt that texting while driving is a dangerous action that should be against the law. In recognition of this fact, the state of Ohio has banned texting and driving for all drivers, regardless of age. However, whether the offense is considered primary or secondary, differs slightly for teens vs. adults.

The Law for Drivers Under 18 Years of Age

The law for drivers under 18 years of age regarding the use of handheld mobile devices while driving is more strict than it is for adults.

Drivers who are under 18 years old are not allowed to use a mobile device in any capacity. 

  • Send or receive SMS messages 
  • Email 
  • Talk: even while using Bluetooth headphones or other hands-free means 
  • Play video games 
  • Use a GPS (unless it’s voice activated) 

Using an electronic wireless communications device under the age of 18 is a primary offense and is punishable by a fine of $150, and a driver’s license suspension of 60 days. A secondary offense is punishable by $300, and a driver’s license suspension of one year, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

The Law for Drivers Over 18 Years of Age

While drivers under age 18 are banned from using electronic communication devices at all, those over 18 are only banned from using cell phones to do the following. 

  • Write text-based communication 
  • Send a text-based communication 
  • Read a text-based communication 

The three actions listed are considered secondary offenses for adults, meaning that drivers can not be pulled over for texting and driving alone. An officer would need to pull an adult over for not wearing a seat belt, for instance, and then somehow discover that s/he had also been texting while driving.

Police reports are some of the best evidence for car accident claims so be sure to obtain a police report if you think the officer noticed the other driver texting. The offense is considered a minor misdemeanor, and is punishable by a fine of up to $150.

Texting and Driving Leads to Accidents

Distraction.gov, the CDC, the FCC, and other local and state government administrations have named texting and driving as a killer. When a driver who’s distracted by texting causes an accident, the victims of the crash can suffer fatal injuries based on the driver’s negligence.

In Ohio, state laws allow a victim who’s injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s fault to file a claim for damages outside of the insurance system. To do so, the injured driver will have to prove the fault of the driver who caused the accident. If the driver was texting while driving, negligence is often easy to confirm with the aid of a thorough law firm such as Bressman Law.

Our Ohio, car accident attorneys, know what you need to do to file a claim for damages, and can guide you through the process. To learn more, call us today at 877-538-1116 or fill out our contact form.