Ohio Distracted Driver Law
As of April 4, 2023, it is illegal to use or hold a cell phone or electronic device in your hand, lap or other parts of the body while driving on Ohio roads. If an officer sees a violation, they can pull you over.
Drivers over 18 years old can make or receive calls via hands-free devices including:
- Wireless headset
- Electronic watch
- Connecting phone to vehicle
In most cases, anything more than a single touch or swipe is against the law.
What's off limits?
With very few exceptions, anything that involves using, holding or supporting a device while driving is off-limits. This could include:
- Dialing a phone number
- Sending a text message
- Updating or browsing social media
- Video calls or FaceTime
- Browsing the internet
- Watching videos
- Playing games
- Recording or streaming video
Drivers can listen to audio streaming apps and use navigational equipment if they turn them on before getting on the road or use a single touch or swipe to activate, modify or deactivate them. Drivers under the age of 18 are still restricted from using their devices in any way, including hands-free features.
- Drivers responding to an emergency law enforcement, a hospital, health care provider, fire department or similar emergency entity.
- Drivers holding a phone to their ear during phone conversations, if the call is started or stopped with a single touch or swipe.
- Drivers holding or using cell phones and other electronic devices while stopped at a traffic light or parked on a road or highway during an emergency road closure.
- First responders (law enforcement, fire, EMS) using electronic devices as part of their official duties.
- Utility workers operating utility vehicles in certain emergency or outage situations.
- Licensed operators using an amateur radio.
- Commercial truck drivers using a mobile data terminal.
Learn more about the Ohio Distracted Law.