Ohio House Bill 468 – Alter law governing use of cell phone while driving
To amend sections 4511.043 and 4511.204 of the Revised Code to alter the law governing the use of a handheld electronic wireless communications device while driving.Full Bill Text
UPDATE January 28, 2020: The bill was referred to the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee.
Ohio House Bill 468 was introduced on January 14, 2020. It has not yet been assigned to a committee for review.
The NMA opposes this bill, which would make the handheld use of an electronic device while driving a primary offense unlawful. Current Ohio law treats this as secondary enforcement, i.e., police can’t cite a driver for handheld use of a cell phone or other electronic device unless the driver was stopped for another suspected primary offense. The use of cell phones while driving can be a sensitive, safety-related subject; our objection isn’t related to penalizing handheld phone use when the driver has demonstrated unsafe driving habits, but of the primary enforcement requirement which can create police actions that threaten constitutional protections for citizens.
Some primary-enforcement communities run ticketing operations where police peer down from overpasses to check driver/passenger activity inside the vehicle, or pose undercover as construction workers to do the same as cars pass by. Even more alarming is the use of textalyzers, where those devices can be used to download phone data during a roadside stop without a warrant. Because cell phones typically store a trove of personal data including contacts, email and text communications, and even the movements of the owner of the phone, such programs create due process and privacy concerns.