The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 18, 2013

Eyes on the road

OHP to begin ticketing for texting while driving

The Ohio State Highway Patrol has a message for drivers — keep your eyes on the road.

“We now can, and will, pull motorists over for texting while driving,” OHP Ashtabula Post Lt. Jerad Sutton said.

State law now identifies underage texting while driving a “primary violation,” Sutton said, meaning a law enforcement officer can initiate a traffic stop based solely on that offense. Other offenses, such as driving without a seat belt, are considered “secondary violations,” meaning that an officer must have another reason to initiate the traffic stop. Adults who text and drive fall under the “secondary violation” offenders and must be pulled over for another moving or equipment violation.

The state law restricts anyone from “driving distracted,” Sutton said, and also prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from even talking on the telephone while driving.

“Anyone over the age of 18 can talk on a cell phone while driving,” Sutton said, “but no one can text and drive.”

The fine will be $150, the OHP website reports. Drivers 17 years old or younger will pay the fine and suffer a 60-day license suspension. Officers will issue warnings to violators for six months and then start ticketing.

The term “distracted driving” covers much more than just cell phone use in the car, Sutton said.

“Distracted driving means no texting, no searching the internet, no reading a book, no messing around with the gadgets in the car including GPS systems, cell phones, iPad’s and iPods,” he said.

Over the last three years, 31,231 crashes, including 7,825 injury crashes and the deaths of 74 people were caused by distracted drivers, OHP reports.

OHP reports that sending or reading text messages takes a driver’s eyes off the road for about 4.6 seconds — just about the time it takes to drive the length of a football field at 55 mph.

“Distracted driving certainly is dangerous,” Sutton said. “We use a distracted driving simulator from ODOT to demonstrate just how dangerous it can be to be looking at a cell phone instead of the road. It’s a real eye opener.”

Text Only
Local News
Ashtabula County Alive
July 4 Celebrations 2014
Summer off to Big Start
Ashtabula County Flag Day 2014
Northeast Ohio Soap Box Derby 2014
Tour de State Line and Boating Season
Ashtabula County Memorial Day 2014
Sam Magill Sr. Memorial
Armed Forces Echo Taps 2014
Lakeside Loop Color Run
Keeping Ashtabula County Clean and Healthy
Canoe Race and Ashtabula Easter Events
The Taping of the Teacher: A sticky Sitation
18th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Geneva State Park
House Ads
AP Video
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'