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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 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. 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 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.

Nikki Ferrell June 21, 2012 at 02:49 PM
The police chief is out this week, but I put in a call to the city to get a response to this. I should hear something soon!
Charlie Bolek July 18, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Does this law apply to GPS devices mounted on your dashboard?
Nikki Ferrell July 18, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Yes, Chris - Chief Sechrist said that drivers should not be pushing buttons on a GPS device while they're driving. He suggested setting it up before pulling into traffic, and if you have to reconfigure, pull over first.
Charlie Bolek July 18, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Is there a possibility that this law will at some point include changing the radio stations on your car radio (except if your controls are on the steering wheel maybe)? Not saying this to be flip but trying to thoroughly understand this new law.
Nikki Ferrell July 18, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Someone else has suggested that, too - but this law only applies to "wireless communication devices." You can see the full text here: http://beachwood.patch.com/articles/look-beachwood-s-cell-phone-law

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