Targeting Distracted Driving
September was declared Safe Driving Month by Gov. John Kasich, in honor of the late Dublin resident, Maria Tiberi, who was killed in a distracted driving accident.
The City of Dublin is attacking distracted driving with a two-prong approach. Dublin Division of Police officers are leading an enforcement campaign which aims to change driving behavior through enforcement and education.
Throughout the rest of the year, Dublin officers will target high crash areas at least twice a week.
The City is also launching an education campaign to end distracted driving, reduce crashes and save lives.
Distracted Driving Is
Distracted driving is a growing problem that kills an estimated nine people a day nationwide.
It is defined as anything inside or outside the car that causes motorists to take their eyes or mind off the road, or their hands off the wheel.
The law does allow for a few exemptions for people using mobile devices. Those exemptions are:
- Operators of emergency or public safety vehicles where the operator of a public safety vehicle uses such device in the course of the operator’s official duties.
- Any person reporting a health or safety emergency.
- Drivers parked, standing or stopped and removed from the flow of traffic, or stopped due to an inoperable vehicle.
It’s the Law
In Dublin, driving distracted is a fourth-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a $250 fine and two points on their license. The moving violation is a primary offense, meaning Dublin Police can pull a motorist over if distracted.
Many cities outside Dublin utilize state law. Ohio law states that it is illegal to text and drive, but makes it a secondary offense for anyone over the age of 18. That means police can only ticket if you’re pulled over for another traffic violation. Violators of the state law face a $150 fine.
The City of Dublin is a model community in support of Dom Tiberi’s and WBNS-10TV’s efforts to end distracted driving. The campaign was started after the death of Maria Tiberi, a 21-year-old who was killed in a distracted driving accident on Sept. 17, 2013. Learn more about Maria’s Message.
Key Facts about Distracted Driving
- Car accidents are the number one killer of teens.
- Nine people are killed and 1,060 are injured every day due to distracted driving.
- Ohio law bans those 18 and younger from using any electronic communications device while driving.
- $13 billion – the estimated cost of distracted driving for Ohioans every year.
- At any minute in the day, approximately 660,000 drivers in the US are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
Distracted Driving Frequently Asked Questions
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is anything inside or outside the car that causes motorists to take their eyes or mind off the road, or their hands off the wheel.
What is the penalty for being caught driving distracted in Dublin?
Dublin’s ordinance allows police to pull over distracted drivers for any type of illegal distraction, makes the traffic violation a fourth-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a $250 fine and two points on a motorist’s license.
How does the City’s Ordinance differ from state law?
Ohio law states it is illegal to text while driving. Under state law, the offense is secondary meaning police can ticket you only if you’re pulled over for another traffic violation. The violation carries a fine of $150. Dublin’s ordinance is a primary offense meaning officers have the authority to stop motorists for any form of distracted driving alone.
Who are the offenders?
Motorists who drive distracted are young and old. Studies have shown that more than 600,000 motorists in this country are estimated to be using an electronic device while driving any day of the week.
How big of a problem is this?
About nine people die and more than 1,000 people are injured across the country every day due to distracted driving accidents.
Are there any exceptions to the City Ordinance?
Exceptions to those who can use mobile devices in vehicles are:
- “Operators of emergency or public safety vehicles where the operator of a public safety vehicle uses such device in the course of the operator’s official duties;”
- “Any person reporting a health or safety emergency;”
- “Drivers parked, standing or stopped and removed from the flow of traffic, or stopped due to an inoperable vehicle.”
Is using a head-set to talk on the phone considered distracted driving?
Operating a vehicle requires a motorist’s full time and attention. If a motorist is talking on a device and is distracted, or is manipulating the device, the motorist is not giving his/her full attention.
Research also shows that hands-free devices still distract motorists from cues on the road that would ordinarily help you avoid a crash.
Is texting at a stop light considered distracted driving?
Yes, motorists can be cited. Again, officers must look to see if the motorist is giving their full time and attention to driving. The City ordinance does allow for an exception if the motorist is “parked, standing or stopped and removed from the flow of traffic, or stopped due to an inoperable vehicle.”
What can I do?
Just drive. When you get in the car, turn your cell phone and electronic devices off, if possible. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, ignore them until you get to a point where you can pull over.
Distracted Driving Ordinance | Ordinance 08-11
(A) No person shall operate a motor vehicle or motorcycle without exercising reasonable and ordinary control over such vehicle.
(B) No person shall operate a motor vehicle or motorcycle in a weaving or zigzag course unless such irregular course is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.
(C) No person shall operate a motor vehicle or motorcycle without giving his full time and attention to the operation of such vehicle.
(D) No person shall operate a motor vehicle or motorcycle while using a mobile communication device to:
(1) Manually write, send, read or reply to a text message; or
(2) Send, read, create, or interact with internet-based content, play games or otherwise interact with the internet.
(3) Division (D) shall not apply to:
(a) Operators of emergency or public safety vehicles where the operator of a public safety vehicle uses such device in the course of the operator’s official duties;
(b) Any person reporting a health or safety emergency;
(c) Drivers parked, standing or stopped and removed from the flow of traffic, or stopped due to an inoperable vehicle.
(4) As used in division (D):
(a) TEXT MESSAGE means any message sent, stored or received via mobile communications device. For the purposes of this section, an email message and an instant message shall be considered a text message.
(b) MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS DEVICE means any portable electronic device capable of transmitting or receiving data in the form of a text message or capable of accessing the internet, including but not limited to a wireless telephone, a text-messaging device, a personal digital assistant, or a personal computer, but specifically excluding a commercial portable mobile data terminal and a global positioning or navigation system being used for that purpose.
(c) EMERGENCY VEHICLES and PUBLIC SAFETY VEHICLES have the same meaning as set forth in R.C. § 4511.01(D) and (E).