Beachwood makes texting while driving primary offense, passing stricter bill than state

BEACHWOOD, Ohio - Police in Beachwood will soon be able to pull over drivers who are caught texting or using a hand-held device.

A new law passed by Beachwood City Council this week bans texting and the use of mobile hand-held devices, including talking on the phone, while driving.

The ban makes using a hand-held mobile device while driving a primary offense, meaning drivers can be stopped and cited when found in violation.

Beachwood joins Brooklyn, North Olmsted, North Royalton, South Euclid, Walton Hills and Woodmere in passing bills banning the handheld device use while driving.

"Drivers can easily be distracted by cell phone use, texting, emailing, GPS navigation or other such diversions," said Beachwood Mayor Merle Gorden in a news release. "To keep our motorists and their passengers safe, we are doing what we can to crack down on distracted driving."

The new law goes into effect a little less than a month from now on July 20. The city said it will post signs to alert drivers of the ban.

Violators will be given a fine and two points for first degree misdemeanor.

"We believe tougher traffic laws will help reduce accidents and improve public safety," Beachwood Police Chief Mark Sechrist said.

Drivers will still be able to use hands-free devices without penalty.

The state of Ohio recently passed its own bill banning texting while driving. However, unlike Beachwood and the other northeast Ohio cities, it is a primary offense only for teenage drivers and not adults.

Ohio's law goes into effect August 30.

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