Here is an overview of the law, which DeWine has expressed support for and is expected to sign:
What is allowed, banned and exempt?
- Holding a cellphone to your ear is allowed, but staring at a handheld phone is not.
- Drivers are allowed “one (finger) swipe” on a screen, such as answering a call.
- Using an online map or navigation device is fine so long as it’s mounted on the dash or on the console — not held in the hand.
- Police, other first responders and utility workers are exempt.
- So are two-way radios used by the Amateur Radio Service, AKA “ham radio.”
What can and can’t police do?
- Police can stop drivers just for using a handheld electronic device.
- But they have to actually see the driver using it.
- Officers can’t search an electronic device for evidence of recent use unless they have a warrant, or the driver allows them to do so.
- Police agencies will have to track and report racial data on everyone they stop for a distracted-driving violation.
How will people know?
- Drivers will have to sign a statement on the new law when they get or renew their licenses.
- Driver education classes and questions on license exams will cover the standards.
- Signs on some highways and at the state line will warn drivers of the new law.
- The state plans to conduct a public information campaign before the law goes into full force.
- For the law’s first six months in effect, police can only give written warnings to violators, allowing time for people to learn and adjust to the new rules.
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