Distracted driving poses well-documented dangers, and as technology becomes more integrated into our lives, the risks on the road inevitably increase. This danger is especially relevant in Ohio, where new legislation, known as “Ohio’s Phones Down Law,” aims to address the alarming frequency of road accidents caused by using mobile devices. In this article, we will examine the effectiveness of this law. We will also explore recent statistics on distracted driving and the crucial role of car accident lawyers for those impacted by these incidents.


Understanding Distracted Driving in Ohio


Distracted driving poses a serious threat to the safety of Ohio motorists. Every day, drivers in the state experience an average of 1,000 crashes due to various distractions. Smartphone use is a major contributor to these incidents, causing visual, manual, and cognitive distractions that divert drivers’ attention from the road.


Types of Distractions


Distracted driving comes in many forms, but they can be broadly categorized into the following:


  • Visual Distraction – When a driver looks at anything other than the road ahead.
  • Manual Distraction – When the driver takes their hands off the steering wheel.
  • Cognitive Distraction – When the driver’s focus shifts from driving to something else, such as a conversation or a thought.


The State of Distracted Driving in Ohio in 2023


Like many states, Ohio has a concerning history of distracted driving incidents. With more than 13,000 annual accidents attributed to driver inattention, the need for policies to reduce such incidents is paramount. Distracted driving doesn’t just mean texting and driving; it encompasses anything that diverts a driver’s attention from the road, including eating, grooming, and fiddling with the radio.


Ohio’s Response: “Ohio’s New Phone Down” Law


Ohio’s lawmakers have taken a proactive stance by passing the “New Phone Down” law enacted on October 29, 2019. Beginning October 5, 2023, law enforcement will start issuing citations for violating this new law. Under House Bill 95, the legislator amended Section 4511.204 of the Ohio Revised Code to make Ohio one of the nation’s strictest states against distracted driving. Under ORC 4511.204, drivers are prohibited from using any electronic device with a touch screen while driving, with the only exceptions being a hands-free device or in an emergency.


Legal Implications for Violations


Under the “New Phone Down” law, violating this policy can result in:

  • Fines of up to $150 for a first violation or up to $300 for subsequent offenses.
  • Penalties, such as an additional $100 owed on top of the fine, if the driver is texting in a school or construction zone.
  • Points on the driver’s license.
  • Fines are doubled if the violation occurs in a work zone.


Despite these penalties, the law has faced some criticism. Some argue that it is too broad and places undue restrictions on lawful phone use, such as operating a GPS or changing music on the phone, which can also pose certain risks.


The Law in Practice: Impact on Car Accident Cases


Since the implementation of the “New Phone Down” law, Ohio’s courts have been faced with a new set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to car accident cases. The law has certainly provided a clearer legal framework for addressing distracted driving, but its impact on actual accident cases is not as straightforward.


Enforcement and Challenges


Enforcing the “New Phone Down” law presents difficulties for law enforcement and prosecutors. Proving that a driver’s mobile phone usage directly led to an accident can be complex, often requiring substantial evidence and legal acumen.


Changes in Driver Behavior


In contrast, the law has prompted changes in driver behavior. Motorists are now more aware of the legal consequences of smartphone use while driving, leading to an observable shift in habits. However, whether this has translated into a significant reduction in car accidents remains to be seen.


Legal Defenses and Examination of Evidence


The “New Phone Down” law can be powerful for accident victims seeking legal recourse. When a driver’s phone records can be obtained and analyzed, it may serve as damning evidence in establishing fault. However, defense strategies are also adapting, with attorneys advocating for the admissibility of phone records and challenging the accuracy of digital evidence.


Ohio’s Phones Down Law: The Impact on Accident Statistics


Here lies the crux of the matter—did the ‘Phone Down’ law truly lead to safer roadways in Ohio? Legal pundits and insurance companies are reviewing recent data, looking for correlations between the law’s enactment and accident rates. The early numbers suggest promise, with decreased reported accidents and injuries related to distracted driving.

While correlation doesn’t equal causation, these figures offer optimism. If sustained, they represent a significant win in the battle for road safety, potentially curbing a leading cause of automobile accidents.


Road Safety and Legal Aid: The Role of Car Accident Lawyers


When an individual is involved in a car accident, navigating the legal aftermath can be daunting. Car accident lawyers are pivotal in helping victims understand their rights and pursue just compensation for injuries and damages incurred.


Legal Counsel and Representation


Car accident lawyers are well-versed in the complexities of personal injury law and can provide critical guidance after an accident. Their expertise ensures that victims do not face the legal system alone.

If you reside in or around any of the areas we serve in Ohio and Michigan – MaumeeDefianceFremontFindlayLima, Mansfield, Toledo, and Monroe – you can count on having one of our best car accident attorneys from Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault to represent you in a personal injury or wrongful death case.  With a local personal injury attorney near you, help is just a phone call away.


Maximizing Compensation


The right legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of a car accident case. Lawyers skilled in this field will work tirelessly to ensure that their clients receive the maximum compensation they are entitled to, covering medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.


The Path Forward: Staying Safe and Informed


Ohioans are responsible for upholding safe driving practices, whether by observing legislative measures like the Phones Down Law or simply by exercising good judgment and focus while driving.

Personal Commitment to Safe Driving


Each of us has the power to make a difference and prevent avoidable accidents. Committing to keeping phones down, eyes on the road, and undivided attention, we contribute to a safer driving environment.


Staying Informed and Prepared


Staying informed about Ohio’s traffic laws and being prepared for the unexpected can help circumvent potential accidents. Additionally, having the contact information of a dependable car accident lawyer can provide peace of mind in case of an unfortunate event.



Seek Legal Guidance from your Local Car Accident Attorneys 


For anyone impacted by a car accident, especially those involving distracted driving, seeking counsel by searching for “the best injury attorneys near me” or “car accident attorneys near me” is the first step toward understanding the legal landscape under the phone-down law. The Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault team is ready to offer the guidance and advocacy you need. If you or someone you love has been in an accident due to a distracted driver’s negligence, reach out today and let us fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. With a local personal injury attorney near you, help is just a phone call away.

Call us at 419-843-6663 to get started, or use our easy online contact form today.

A free consultation with one of our car accident attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can provide peace of mind. We offer guidance on legal options, case evaluations, and potential compensation. Our free consultations ensure legal assistance without financial cost. Personal Injury cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. No fees unless we recover compensation for you.