COLUMBUS, January 2023: Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation this month aimed to stop drivers from using their phones while they are driving.

The law establishes “texting while driving” as a primary offense, allowing officers to initiate a traffic stop if they believe drivers are using their phones.

The new law takes effect in 90 days. Violators would be charged with an unclassified misdemeanor.

The new Ohio law lists about 13 instances in which this rule doesn’t apply, including:

  • Emergency calls, work calls for public safety officials
  • A stopped car, whether pulled over or at a red light
  • Drivers on speakerphone, so long as they’re not holding the phone
  • Drivers on the phone held up to their ear
  • Drivers using a phone to navigate, so long as they’re not holding the phone· A person using a hands-free system