Drivers Can Now Be Ticketed Under Ohio Texting Ban - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Drivers Can Now Be Ticketed Under Ohio Texting Ban

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

Ohio drivers can now be ticketed for texting.

For the past six months, officers could issue warnings those who weren't complying with the statewide texting ban. That grace period ends Friday.

Texting while driving is now a secondary offense for drivers 18 and older. That means an officer has to stop a driver for another offense first, such as speeding.

But drivers who are minors are not allowed to text or use cellphones or other hand-held devices such as a GPS or MP3 player. For them it's a primary offense.

The law carries possible fines of $150 for the first offense. Repeat offenders could face a $300 fine.

Texting has become the leading cause of death for teen drivers. In 2012, there were 43,000 crashes involving drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 years of age. Almost 12,000 of those drivers were injured, and nearly 100 of them died. Authorities say distracted driving is a big contributor to that trend.

On Friday, AAA will debut a program for young drivers called the CinemaDrive, which is a 3-D interactive educational program and today is the first time is it in Ohio. The new program will debut at Buckeye Valley High School, in Delaware County.

The law doesn't trump city ordinances on texting or cellphone use that might be tougher.

All drivers can text and use their cellphones in cases of an emergency.

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