Ohio texting and driving ban starts Friday, increases penalties for teens

MENTOR, Ohio - Ohio's statewide texting and driving ban takes effect on Friday, making it a misdemeanor.

Under House Bill 99, not only it is illegal for any driver to text while behind the wheel, it also restricts teens and their electronic devices.

The Lake County Sheriff's office said drivers under the age of 18 cannot text, email, use a GPS or talk on the phone while driving. That even applies for motorists stopped at a traffic light.

Texting and driving for teens is a primary offense. It's a $150 fine and license suspension for 60 days for a minor's first violation. The second violation is a $300 fine and license suspension for a year, the sheriff's office said.

"For drivers over 18 it is Illegal to use a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text while driving in Ohio," the sheriff's office said.

Texting and driving is a secondary offense for adults, meaning police need another reason to pull you over, like speeding. It's worth a fine of up to $150.

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