Every time you drive your car, you put yourself at risk for involvement in a distracted driving accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving accidents kill approximately 9 people and injure more than 1,000 people every day in the U.S. 

Distracted driving includes any activity that takes your full attention away from operating a vehicle, including texting and driving. To reduce accidents caused by texting and driving in the state, Ohio has made certain activities illegal. 

Is using a cellphone and driving in Ohio illegal?   

The Ohio Revised Code states that drivers cannot use their cellphones to read, send or create text-based communication. This means that you cannot use your phone to send a quick text message or even read a text message as you drive your car. 

Are there any exceptions to this law?  

You can write, read or send text messages as you drive legally in these situations: 

  • You use your cellphone to send text-based information for emergency purposes. 
  • You send a text message using a hands-free communication device. 
  • You use your cellphone to enter the name or number of someone you need to call. 
  • You receive wireless messages on your device to operate or navigate your vehicle. 

You can also send and receive text-based communications if you are a commercial truck driver who needs to transmit job-related data. Additionally, officials acting in a public safety capacity can use a handheld device to send and receive information while driving a vehicle. 

What are the consequences for texting and driving?   

If a law enforcement official pulls you over for texting and driving, you may face charges for a minor misdemeanor. Although a misdemeanor is a low-level traffic offense, a violation can result in increases to your insurance rates and have consequences if you drive for work and need to maintain a commercial driver’s license.