New law restricts use of smartphones while driving raises questions

You could lose your driver’s license and your money by checking your phone while driving.

Senate Bill 288 enters into force with the goal to crack down on distracted driving.

>>Law restricting use of phones while driving goes into effect Tuesday; What to know

News Center 7’s Taylor Robertson looked into what the new the law says as it goes into effect Tuesday.

In January, Governor DeWine signed Senate Bill 288. He said that it would save lives.

“Quite simply, distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving is, and we need to treat it that way,” he said.

>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: DeWine signs bill restricting Ohioans from using phones while driving

According to the bill, the person who is first caught with their phone behind the wheel can take a class in order to remove points from their license.

A second-time offender could be fined up to $250

A third-time offender could face a $500 fine.

Robertson states that there are exceptions to this law, such as holding your phone up to your ear while calling 911, using your GPS or stopping at a red light.

While they are working, emergency and public safety personnel can also use their phones.

>>WATCH: State trooper nearly hit by suspected distracted driver

Robertson spoke to people on Sunday night, and they asked questions about the new distracted driving laws.

“How are they gonna know if it’s in your lap?” asked Linda Dalton of Huber Heights. “Or how are they going to know you are on your phone?”

She has grandkids that are new to driving, and was asked if she felt any security about their safety on the roads.

“I guess I have mixed feelings about it,” Dalton told Robertson. “I suppose it’s a good thing, but at other times, you know, sometimes they need to make a call.”

>>PREVIOUS: Ohio lawmakers continue push to expand law against distracted driving

Andrew Christen said he’s only had his license for about a year, but he has already seen his fair share of distracted drivers.

“There’s a lot of people that are always on their phones. It’s very reckless,” he said. “I see it coming to and from school all the time. A lot of close calls could be accidents.”

Robertson told him that distracted driving makes Robertson nervous.

“I think not only texting, but a lot of people were always calling and sometimes, the GPS is a big factor in it too,” said Christen.

He claimed that he did not believe that this law would solve any problems.

“I don’t think there really is a solution because you can’t prove a lot of it, but if you could minimize it, it’d be a lot better,” he told Robertson. “It’s very dangerous and you shouldn’t be doing it at all.”

>>RELATED: Bill to expand distracted driving laws moves to Senate

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, distracted driving was responsible for 31 fatal crashes in 2022.

This also caused nearly 300 serious injuries in crashes.

The bill will go into effect with a grace period of six months. During this time, people will still be able to be pulled over for using their phones while driving. However, law enforcement will issue warnings.

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