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Friday
Oct142016

Bexley's Hands Free Ordinance Now In Effect

Hands-on use of mobile devices restricted

At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, council voted to approve Ordinance 27-16, prohibitting the hands-on use of mobile communication devices while driving.  Under the new law, drivers must either use hands-free devices to make and receive calls (such as bluetooth in-car and after-market calling systems), or pull out of the flow of traffic to make or receive calls.  The law is very similar to laws in place in 14 states and many cities in the Cleveland region.  Signage will be installed at all entry-points to the City, and a public information campaign and a warning period will preceed enforcement.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Can I Use My Phone While Driving?
A phone can be used under the following scenarios:
- While pulled over, out of the flow of traffic
- Over a bluetooth, hands-free system
- Over speakerphone, provided the device is not being held in the driver's hand
- While using a single earbud/headphone (drivers cannot have both ears covered) 

Can I Hold My Phone In My Hand While Driving?
No, a phone cannot be hand-held at any point while operating a motor vehicle in the flow of traffic.

Can I touch my phone if it is in a cradle/mount system while driving (i.e., not in my hand)?
You may perform single-touch operations such as swiping to answer a call, or long-pressing to activate voice calling on your phone, provided your phone is not in your hand.

Can I Use Voice Recognition such as Siri, Google Now, etc?
Provided you are not holding your phone in our hand while driving, you may perform a single-touch operation to activate voice assistance services such as Siri or Google Now.

But this all seems so complicated!?
It really isn't.  If an officer sees you holding a phone - whether to text, or call, or surf the internet, or whatever you might be doing - you are liable to be cited.  If in doubt, play it safe, and don't let your phone be a distraction while you're driving.

What about all the drivers who aren't aware of Bexley's law?
The City will place signage at all entry points to the City alerting drivers of the new law.   And as with all new laws, officers will generally be issuing warnings during the initial period that the law goes into effect, although repeat offenders may receive citations during the warning period.