Ohio law changes the rules for drivers

Ohio's driving laws just got tougher and, if lawmakers get their way, the changes aren't going to be over.

Studies have shown that more people are waiting until after their 18th birthday to get their driver's license. Those who do so get to skip the mandatory driver's education requirements that younger drivers face.

As a consequence, there are a lot of first-time drivers out there who haven't had any safety classes on distracted driving -- and it's making the roads less safe.

To curb the problem, the new rules require adult applicants for a driver's license to pass their test on the first try -- or face remedial training. That's likely to affect around 86,000 would-be driver's per year.

In addition, another new law takes aim at distracted driving by setting a fine at $100 for anyone caught not just texting on a phone but talking on a phone -- as well as less-obvious distractions like switching the station on the radio while driving. Although the law is expansive, it's an "add on" offense, which means that you can't be pulled over just for that action alone. Instead, it can be added to your ticket if you are pulled over for any other kind of moving violation, like running a stop sign.

Lawmakers in Ohio probably aren't done trying to make the roads a little safer. If some have their way, minor teen drivers are the next group who will face more restrictions.

Lawmakers want to require minors to keep their temporary permits for an entire year before being allowed to take their exam for a full license. Even then, minors would be banned from driving after 9:00 p.m. and before 6:00 a,m, The final restriction is needed, according to lawmakers, because 75 percent of nighttime car accidents that include teen drivers occur after 9:00 at night.

Regardless of the new changes, don't expect distracted driving to automatically improve. There are a lot of drivers who don't always even recognize what they are doing is distracting because the actions have become so commonplace. Eating in your car or chatting with your passengers, for example, can be highly distracting -- but people still do it every day.

If you become the victim of a distracted driver, talk to an attorney today to discuss the possibility of a lawsuit to recover your damages.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Ohio law changes Saturday for adults who want first driver's license," Emily Williams, June 30, 2017

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