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(a) The following rules govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction:
(1) The operator of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall, except as provided in subsection (a)(3) hereof, signal to the vehicle to be overtaken, shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. When a motor vehicle overtakes and passes a bicycle or electric bicycle, three feet or greater is considered a safe passing distance.
(2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the operator of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle at the latter's audible signal, and the operator shall not increase the speed of the operator’s vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.
(3) The operator of a vehicle overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction on a divided street or highway as defined in Section 331.31, a limited access highway as defined in Ohio R.C. 5511.02 or a highway with four or more traffic lanes, is not required to signal audibly to the vehicle being overtaken and passed.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.
If the offender commits the offense while distracted and the distracting activity is a contributing factor to the commission of the offense, the offender is subject to the additional fine established under Section 303.991 of the Traffic Code.