Safety Laws in Ohio
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Ohio law requires children between the ages of four and 15 to be properly restrained by either a child seat, booster seat, or seat belt any time they are being transported by a motor vehicle. (This doesn't apply to children riding in taxicabs or public safety vehicles.)
Drivers who violate this law face a misdemeanor charge and at least a $25 fine.
If you're in the market for one, you can shop online for a child car seat at any time. When ordering, be sure the car seat matches your child's height, weight and age (as described below).
Weight and Height Specifics
- If your child is under 1 year and under 20 pounds, he must be in a rear-facing child seat.
- If your child is at least 1 and weighs more than 20 pounds, he can ride in a forward-facing seat until he grows out of that seat.
- If your child weighs over 40 pounds, he must ride in a booster seat. Boosters properly position the seatbelt. Use a highback booster if the car's backseat is below the top of your child's ears.
- Your child must use the booster until he is 8 years old, or is at least 4'9" tall.
Children under age 12 should ride in the backseat to prevent airbag injuries and fatalities. The airbag deploys in an angle that will injure or kill a child, so if your child must ride in front, be sure you have an airbag turnoff switch.
Drivers and front-seat passengers must wear a selt belt, even if air bags are available. Drivers can get hit with a $30 fine, and passengers with a $20 fine, for ignoring the rule. However, since disobeying the seat belt rule isn't considered to be a moving offense, no points will be applied to a driving record.
All drivers younger than under 18 are banned from using cellphones while behind the wheel. And all drivers, regardless of age, are banned from texting.
It's illegal to drive a motor vehicle wearing earphones, headsets, or earplugs in both ears.
If you're going to apply glass-darkening material, it must be in accord with the Department of Public Safety standards. Reflective material is not allowed. The window tint must allow 70% light transmittance on the windshield, and 50% percent transmittance on the rear and side windows.
Anyone under age under 18 who is operating a moped must wear a helmet and protective eyewear.
Motorcycle riders of all ages must wear protective eyewear. Motorcycle riders under under 18 must also wear a helmet.
If you have less than one year of experience driving a motorcycle, you must wear a helmet, regardless of your age.
Also, if you're a passenger and the driver is required to wear a helmet, you must wear one, too, no matter how old you are.
Ohioans should use their discretion in this regard, but if you suspect a driver is under the influence, call (800) GRAB-DUI to report the driver to law enforcement. You may also call 911 to report this, or to report someone who is driving so dangerously that lives appear to be in imminent danger.
If conditions warrant the use of windshield wipers, motorists are required to turn on their headlights.
You must always use your headlights between sunset and sunrise, during periods of rain, fog, or snow, and any time conditions make it impossible to clearly see more than 1000 feet ahead.
If you leave a child unattended in a vehicle, especially during periods of extreme heat or cold, it could be considered child endangerment. Under Ohio law, this is when a parent or guardian decides to act recklessly by disregarding a substantial risk.
Other Topics in This Section
- Traffic Alerts
- 511 Traffic Systems
- Tire Recalls
- Safety Laws
- How Emotions Affect Driving
- Driving in Hazardous Conditions
- Teen Drivers: A Beginner's Guide
- Seniors: When To Turn Over The Car Keys
- Packing Your First-Aid Kit
- Seven Senior Safety Suggestions
- Wildlife on the Road
- When to Call Wildlife Rescue
- Taking A Mature Driver Course
- Medications & Driving
- Night Driving
- Hallucinations on the Road
- How To Drive Distraction Free
- Treating Motion Sickness
- Road Rage: How To Deal With It
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