408.02  GENERAL CODE PENALTY.
   (a)   Whoever violates any provision of this traffic code for which no penalty otherwise is provided in the section violated is guilty of one of the following:
      (1)   Except as otherwise provided in division (b) or (c) of this section, a minor misdemeanor;
      (2)   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, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree;
      (3)   If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, a misdemeanor of the third degree.
(R.C. § 4511.99)
   (b)   Violations committed while distracted.
      (1)   As used in this section and each section referenced in division (b)(2) of this section, all of the following apply:
         A.   “Distracted” means doing either of the following while operating a vehicle:
            1.   Using a handheld electronic wireless communications device, as defined in R.C. § 4511.204, except when utilizing any of the following:
               a.   The device’s speakerphone function;
               b.   A wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances;
               c.   A “voice-operated or hands-free” device that allows the person to use the electronic wireless communications device without the use of either hand except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function;
               d.   Any device that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.
            2.   Engaging in any activity that is not necessary to the operation of a vehicle and impairs, or reasonably would be expected to impair, the ability of the operator to drive the vehicle safely.
         B.   “Distracted” does not include operating a motor vehicle while wearing an earphone or earplug over or in both ears at the same time. A person who so wears earphones or earplugs may be charged with a violation of R.C. § 4511.84, or any substantially equivalent municipal ordinance.
         C.   “Distracted” does not include conducting any activity while operating a utility service vehicle or a vehicle for or on behalf of a utility, provided that the driver of the vehicle is acting in response to an emergency, power outage, or a circumstance affecting the health or safety of individuals. As used in this division (b)(1)C.:
            1.   “Utility” means an entity specified in R.C. § 4905.03(A), (C), (D), (E), or (G).
            2.   “Utility service vehicle” means a vehicle owned or operated by a utility.
      (2)   If an offender violates R.C. § 4511.03, 4511.051, 4511.12, 4511.121, 4511.132, 4511.21, 4511.211, 4511.213, 4511.22, 4511.23, 4511.25, 4511.26, 4511.27, 4511.28, 4511.29, 4511.30, 4511.31, 4511.32, 4511.33, 4511.34, 4511.35, 4511.36, 4511.37, 4511.38, 4511.39, 4511.40, 4511.41, 4511.42, 4511.43, 4511.431, 4511.44, 4511.441, 4511.451, 4511.46, 4511.47, 4511.54, 4511.55, 4511.57, 4511.58, 4511.59, 4511.60, 4511.61, 4511.64, 4511.71, 4511.711, 4511.712, 4511.713, 4511.72, or 4511.73, or any substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, while distracted and the distracting activity is a contributing factor to the commission of the violation, the offender is subject to the applicable penalty for the violation and, notwithstanding R.C. § 2929.28, is subject to an additional fine of not more than $100 as follows:
         A.   1.   Subject to Traffic Rule 13, if a law enforcement officer issues an offender a ticket, citation, or summons for a violation of any of the aforementioned sections of the Ohio Revised Code, or any substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, that indicates that the offender was distracted while committing the violation and that the distracting activity was a contributing factor to the commission of the violation, the offender may enter a written plea of guilty and waive the offender’s right to contest the ticket, citation, or summons in a trial provided that the offender pays the total amount of the fine established for the violation and pays the additional fine of $100.
            2.   In lieu of payment of the additional fine of $100, the offender instead may elect to attend a distracted driving safety course, the duration and contents of which shall be established by the Ohio Director of Public Safety. If the offender attends and successfully completes the course, the offender shall be issued written evidence that the offender successfully completed the course. The offender shall be required to pay the total amount of the fine established for the violation, but shall not be required to pay the additional fine of $100, so long as the offender submits to the court both the offender’s payment in full and such written evidence.
         B.   1.   If the offender appears in person to contest the ticket, citation, or summons in a trial and the offender pleads guilty to or is convicted of the violation, the court, in addition to all other penalties provided by law, may impose the applicable penalty for the violation and may impose the additional fine of not more than $100.
            2.   If the court imposes upon the offender the applicable penalty for the violation and an additional fine of not more than $100, the court shall inform the offender that, in lieu of payment of the additional fine of not more than $100, the offender instead may elect to attend the distracted driving safety course described in division (b)(2)A. of this section. If the offender elects the course option and attends and successfully completes the course, the offender shall be issued written evidence that the offender successfully completed the course. The offender shall be required to pay the total amount of the fine established for the violation, but shall not be required to pay the additional fine of not more than $100, so long as the offender submits to the court the offender’s payment and such written evidence.
(R.C. § 4511.991)
   (c)   Notwithstanding any other provisions of Chapter 408, upon a finding that such person operated a motor vehicle in violation of any provision of this Traffic Code in a residential district where a sign to this effect has been posted, the court, in addition to all other penalties provided by law, shall impose a fine of two times the usual amount imposed for the violation.
(Ord. 41-2003. Passed 4-28-03.)