Ohio Text Messaging and Cell Phone Laws

In March 2013, Ohio passed legislation becoming the 39th state to ban text messaging by all drivers. In addition, the new law prohibits the use of cell phones and other mobile devices for drivers under the age of 18. The law went into effect at the end of August 2013.

Cell Phone Use

Novice drivers in Ohio - drivers aged 18 or less – are banned from using cell-phones (both handheld and hands-free) and, like all drivers, banned from texting.

Texting Laws

All drivers are banned from texting while driving.

Bus Drivers

Like all drivers, bus drivers are banned from texting.


There are some exceptions to the Ohio law. Adults can use cell phones for emergency communications and voice-operated or hands-free devices. In addition, adult drivers can enter phone numbers or use navigation devices. 


Fines for violation of the anti-texting law are up to $150 and for novice drivers, up to $300. Ohio's (over 18) anti-texting laws are considered "secondary" laws which means that an officer must have another reason for pulling a driver over other than texting. Ohio's cell phone and texting ban for novice drivers is a “primary” law. A primary law means that an officer can pull over a novice driver for texting or cell phone use without having to witness some other violation. That is, the officer sees the novice driver texting and simply issues a citation.

Other State of Ohio Information on this Website

For additional information regarding driving laws in Ohio, follow the links below.

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