Ohio's new law banning texting while driving goes into effect today. That means motorists cannot send or read text messages from behind the wheel.
Lakewood officials are considering changes to the city's current "full attention" ordinance — requiring Lakewood drivers to keep their full attention on the road.
Kevin Butler, the city's law director, said that city council will likely consider an ordinance in the coming weeks that would "mirror the state code."
With a few possible additions.
The state measure already takes things a step further for drivers under 18: They can't talk on a cell phone at all, even with Bluetooth or other hands-free methods.
"I am confident that this one small step will have a great impact as we work toward safer roadways," said State Sen. Tom Patton, R-24, who supported the legislation.
No one will get ticketed just yet. There's a six-month grace period built into the law, and police will issue warnings until next March 1.
But "texting" doesn't just mean thumbing in messages. It applies to reading, too — even checking your email.
"It is important to note that 'texting' includes writing, sending, and reading any text-based communication including instant messages and emails, as well as traditional mobile-to-mobile texts," Patton said in a news release.
According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, here's what the ban means:
If you're under age 18:
It is illegal to use any electronic wireless communications device while driving in Ohio.
• No texting
• No e-mailing
• No talking on your cell phone, Bluetooth, Bluetooth speakers, On-Star or any similar device
• No computers, laptops or tablets
• No playing video games
• No using your GPS (unless it's a voice-operated or hands-free device that has been pre-programmed)
The ban stays in place even when you are sitting at a light or stuck in traffic.
It's a Primary Offense: Law enforcement can stop you for any of the above reasons.
For first violations, the fine is $150 and the offender's driver's license is suspended for 60 days.
After that, fine is $300 and licenses are suspended for a year.
The only exceptions are for vehicles in a stationary position and outside a lane of travel; and emergency calls to law enforcement, hospital, fire department, etc.
Adult drivers (18 or older):
It is illegal to use a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text while driving in Ohio.
It is a secondary offense, meaning adults cannot be pulled over for texting or reading their email while driving.
The offense is a minor misdemeanor, which carries a fine up to $150.