Distracted driving is a serious concern on roadways throughout Ohio. A new distracted driving law recently went into effect that expanded the definition of distracted driving. The law includes a variety of activities, in addition to using a cell phone while driving or texting while driving, in its definition of distracted driving. The new definition includes activities while driving that are not necessary to the activity of driving that can impair, or be reasonably expected to impair, the driver's ability to drive safely while engaged in them.
According to the new law, eating while driving or operating the radio while driving could be considered distracted driving. If those behaviors are linked to a distracted driving-related car accident, it could result in serious penalties and liability for the distracted driver. Under the new law, the possible penalty increased by $100.
Distracted drivers may not only face increased penalties and costs associated with distracted driving, they may also face civil liabilities to victims for the damages caused by their negligent or careless distracted driving behaviors. Motor vehicle accidents can have a disruptive or devastating effect on the lives of victims depending on the circumstances. Because of this, negligent drivers, such as distracted drivers, may be liable to compensate victims for the physical, financial and emotional injuries they have suffered. A citation or criminal charge may be used as evidence of the driver's negligence.
AAA reported that during 2017, 21,000 car accidents in Ohio involved drivers that authorities identified as distracted drivers. Because of how serious distracted driving is, and the harm that it can do, it is essential for victims of distracted drivers to be familiar with the personal injury protections available to them.