Distracted driving has been the focus of many departments of motor vehicles across the country, with a huge emphasis on texting and driving. However, thanks to a new law, all kinds of driving distractions will be monitored in Ohio.
Starting in late October, the state’s texting-and-driving ban will be expanded to include any form of distracted driving. It is a secondary offense, which means that if police pull over a motorist for a traffic violation they can add an additional ticket if a driving distraction contributed to the primary offense. Penalties for an offense include a fine up to $100 or attending a distracted driving course.
What is distracted driving?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention identifies three main types of driving distractions: visual, manual and cognitive. Texting often gets most of the legislative focus because it can be classified under all three distraction types. But other driving distractions can be just as dangerous.
Visual distractions take the driver’s off the wheel and include:
- Looking for something on the car floor
- Changing the car music or temperature controls
- Checking a global positioning system (GPS)
- Doing makeup
Manual distractions take the driver’s hands off the wheel and include:
- Eating and drinking
- Searching through a purse or wallet
- Turning knobs in the car
Cognitive distractions shift a driver’s focus from the road and include:
- Road rage
- Thinking about something upsetting
- Talking to another passenger
In 2017, distracted driving contributed to nearly 14,000 traffic crashes in Ohio, 52 of which were fatal, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Drivers across the state will hopefully be safer on the road with law enforcement issuing punishments for distracted drivers, reducing auto accidents and subsequent injuries.