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Ohio bans texting while driving

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June 5, 2012—Ohio Governor John Kasich recently signed a new law that prohibits text messaging while driving for all drivers, making Ohio the 39th U.S. state to ban texting behind the wheel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the Ohio law will go into effect 90 days after Governor Kasich signed it. Drivers will be issued with warnings for the first six months. After that period, texting will be a secondary offense for adults with a fine of up to $150. Texting will be a primary offense for drivers under the age of 18, with a $150 fine and 60-day license suspension.

The NHTSA said repeat offenders who are under the age of 18 will be issued a $300 fine and have their license suspended for one year.

"I commend Governor Kasich and the Ohio legislature for taking an important stand against the dangers of texting while driving today," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "While this new law will help keep all drivers safe, we are especially encouraged by its focus on young drivers, who are more likely to engage in distracted driving."

In addition to Ohio, 38 other U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands ban text messaging by all drivers, the NHTSA said. Ten U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands also prohibit all handheld cell phone use while driving.

"We are making a difference in the fight against distracted driving through a combination of good laws, tough and consistent enforcement, and extensive public education," said David Strickland, administrator of the NHTSA. "Ohio is sending a strong message that it wants its young drivers to be distraction free."

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