Proposal by Ohio lawmakers would ban drivers from holding phones, devices

COLUMBUS — A new legislative effort to crack down on distracted driving would make it illegal to drive in Ohio while holding a phone or any other electronic device.

The bill introduced Monday by Republican House members Cindy Abrams from Harrison in Hamilton County and Brian Lampton from Beavercreek would also make distracted driving a primary driving offense. That would mean police wouldn’t need another reason to pull drivers over before enforcing the ban on holding devices.

The bill would ban all hand-held uses of a phone, from sending a text, to checking social media, to punching in an address in a mapping app. The bill allows exceptions for emergency responders. It also includes a “one-swipe” exception for people to answer in-coming calls and then disconnect them.

The measure incorporates many elements of a proposal that Republican Gov. Mike DeWine unsuccessfully pushed earlier this year.