CLEVELAND - Lieutenant Antonio L. Mantos, Post Commander of the Cleveland Metro Patrol Post in Garfield Heights, drove his cruiser on a slick I-480 middle lane searching for drivers who may be distracted. That's a normal part of the job, but on this day, Friday, March 1, it was to possibly cite drivers for texting while driving -- a new Ohio ban that will now have an effect on every driver in Ohio.
Forty states have texting bans, some partial, but Ohio joins 35 others in its effort to aim laws at teens as well as older drivers caught using wireless devices.
"It's a primary offense for those who have a probationary license, or a temporary license, typically the age of 15 and a half to 16 and 17-years-old. Meaning it's a primary offense we can stop them just based on that there (age) as a traffic offense. Whereas if you are 18 and older the texting ban is as a secondary offense, and that meaning you would have to be stopped for a violation whether it's an equipment violation, or a moving violation, such as speeding or weaving down the road. That being the primary offense and if we had seen you using the phone or a hands-free device where you're texting or typing in, that's the secondary offense," said Mantos.
For Cleveland resident Nikki Naseem, the ban is a welcome law for all drivers.
"You see so many accidents happening with kids and even adults who are texting while driving, so it's just ridiculous to do it anyway," she said.
Teens can be fined $150 for the misdemeanor and lose their license for 60 days for the first offense.
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