Texting and most other uses of hand-held mobile devices, including talking on a cell phone, have been banned in the city of Beachwood.
The new law takes effect today, Wednesday, July 18.
The new law, passed by Beachwood City Council, makes violations a primary offense - meaning drivers can be stopped and cited when observed using handheld devices.
"Drivers can easily be distracted by cell phone use, texting, emailing, GPS navigation or other such diversions," said Beachwood Mayor Merle Gorden. "Taking your eyes off the road at just the wrong moment can cause one to run a red light, veer from a lane or fail to notice a stopped vehicle. The consequences can be deadly."
"To keep our motorists and their passengers safe, we are doing what we can to crack down on distracted driving," he added.
The city posted signage to alert drivers of the ban. Violators will be assessed a fine and two points for the first degree misdemeanor.
The ban will not apply to drivers using communication devices that are not handheld. Drivers will be able to legally make or receive phone calls via such hands-free devices.
Ohio recently passed a law banning the practice of texting while driving, though enforcement varies for drivers under and over the age of 18.
Beachwood Police Chief Mark Sechrist said Beachwood's new law "more clearly prohibits the use of handheld devices within the city of Beachwood. The use of portable electronic devices while driving is a dangerous distraction and we believe tougher traffic laws will help reduce accidents and improve public safety."
Council President Saul Eisen added: "Beachwood has 100,000 people driving through our community every day. We value our citizens and visitors, and we believe this is a responsible measure to keep our drivers and their passengers safe."
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