Two Key Laws in Ohio go into effect this week. House Bill 95, passed in July, increases the penalty (an additional $100 fine) for distracted driving if a driver commits a moving violation while distracted. Enforcement is a secondary offense, and in lieu of paying the additional fine, offenders may choose to complete a distracted driving safety course established by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

In 2017, there were more than 21,000 crashes attributed to distracted driving in Ohio – but the true number is much higher, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. Many people won’t admit to driving distracted when involved in a crash out of fear of liability. It’s also more difficult for officers to prove, which is why it doesn’t often get recorded in crash data. “While failure to adhere to these critical traffic safety laws can cause loss of money in your wallet, they have far more life-altering consequences for every person traveling on Ohio roads,” said AAA Public Affairs Manager Cindy Antrican.

On Monday, Ohio’s Move Over law expanded to include waste collection trucks. The changes to the move over law, passed as Senate Bill 127 in June, will protect the lives of sanitation workers, refuge collectors, along with helpers on recycling trucks. As noted by the American Disposal Services and the American Recycling Center, being struck by a motorist is a leading cause of death for waste and recycling collection employees. Yet 71 percent of Americans have not heard of move over laws, according to a national poll by Mason Dixon Polling & Research.

A violation of Ohio’s Move Over Law is a minor misdemeanor. However, a violation is a fourth degree misdemeanor if the offender has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense within one year of the violation. The violation is a third degree misdemeanor if the offender has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses within one year.

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