Ohio governor calls for distracted driving to be a primary offense

A change in state regulations regarding distracted driving could result in higher fines and more frequent traffic stops as police authority expands

December 26, 2019
Ohio governor calls for distracted driving to be a primary offense

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has made it clear he wants all forms of distracted driving to be considered primary offenses throughout the state and has assured his constituency that a proposal to that effect will be in the offing very soon after the New Year.


At a holiday news conference on the subject of promoting safe driving during the holiday season, DeWine made it clear he considers distracted driving as dangerous as drunk driving, and that while at present distracted driving—including texting, making calls or surfing the internet while driving—is considered a secondary offense to those over age 18, if he gets his way this will soon no longer be the case.


“Smart phones have turned a lot of people into really dumb drivers,” DeWine said. The governor went on to say he hoped to have a proposal to make distracted driving a primary offense to the state legislature soon.


Deaths caused by traffic crashes this year have increased over the 2018, making this one of the decade’s deadliest years for driving in Ohio, DeWine said. To date, 1,119 people have died, compared to 1,068 in 2018. More than 91,000 distracted driving crashes have happened in Ohio since 2013, injuring more than 47,000 and killing 305 people.


DeWine was joined by State Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks and Col. Richard Fambro in urging motorists to put their phones down this holiday season.

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