Beachwood's Texting Law: 5 Things You Should Know
Drivers caught using a cell phone could be ticketed, fined beginning soon
Beachwood City Council unanimously passed a law Monday prohibiting drivers from using cell phones with their hands in the city.
Here are five things you should know about the new law if you drive in Beachwood.
The law takes effect in 30 days. That does not mean you should text while driving now, of course! It's important to note that officers already issue tickets for distracted driving to many drivers who are driving and using their phones, eating or applying make-up. Beachwood Police Chief Mark Sechrist said that the law more clearly establishes rules for driving.
"It's important to definitively state that this is a dangerous action and it needs to stop," Sechrist added.
This is a primary offense. Unlike the less strict Ohio law, Beachwood Police can stop drivers for using phones even if they have not broken any other traffic law - and it carries a $101 fine and a two-point penalty on your license.
Most cell phone uses are banned. Basically, drivers must keep both hands on the wheel. They can use GPS devices if they are voice-commanded, and can talk on the phone with a hands-free headset - but don't dial with your hands or pick up the phone while you're driving, and definitely don't text, check your email or surf the web.
GPS devices count too. The text of the law specifically names cell phones and navigation systems, but prohibits "the use of electronic wireless communications devices while driving."
There are exceptions. Besides hands-free and voice commanded use, drivers may use cell phones in an emergency, and city employees (including police officers) may use devices if it's necessary to carry out their job functions.