Driving Safety Laws in the State of Ohio

Just like every other state in the country, Ohio has a specific set of laws in place for drivers and vehicle owners in general. These laws exist to keep everyone safe on the road. If you are a driver in the state of Ohio, you should know about these laws and adhere to them to ensure that you, other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians can all remain safe.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that wearing a seatbelt while in a car reduces one’s risk of suffering a fatal injury by a significant percentage. As a result, Ohio has mandatory laws regarding wearing seatbelts while in a moving vehicle. They include the following:

  • Any person sitting in the front seat of a vehicle, whether as a driver or a passenger, is required to wear a seatbelt. This is a mandatory rule.
  • All children between the ages of 8 and 15 must wear a seatbelt or use a child restraint device whenever appropriate. This is mandatory for any time a child of this age range is inside a vehicle, regardless of where he or she is sitting.

Children and Safety Restraints

Children are required to use a booster seat or child safety seat while in a moving vehicle, depending on their age, height, and weight. As per Ohio law, the following criteria are required:

  • If a child is under four years old or weighs less than 40 pounds, he or she is required to use a safety seat at all times. The safety seat’s installation must meet the manufacturer’s requirements.
  • If a child is under the age of eight, they are required to use a booster seat unless they are 4 feet and 9 inches tall or taller. If the shoulder belt crosses over or near the child’s neck instead of mid-chest, they must still use a booster seat, regardless of his or her age, height, or weight.
  • If a child is between 8 and 15 years old, they must wear a seatbelt at all times.

Drivers are always responsible to ensure that minors inside their car are appropriately seated. If they don’t follow the law, they can be fined.

Cell Phone Usage and Texting

In Ohio, using a handheld phone while driving is not completely banned. However, there are restrictions in place. Any driver younger than 18 years old is prohibited from using a handheld device, except when it is for emergency purposes, such as to contact law enforcement, the fire department, or healthcare providers.

It’s illegal for any driver to text while driving, regardless of age.

Window Tinting

Ohio allows for window tinting, but tinting materials must meet state guidelines. Mandatory rules for tinting include the following:

  • Windshields must have 70 percent or greater light transmittance.
  • Side windows to each side of the driver require at least 50 percent light transmittance.
  • Rear windows don’t have restrictions if there are dual side mirrors.
  • Using metallic, mirrored, or reflective materials is prohibited.
  • Red and yellow tint cannot be used.

Unattended Minors and Pets

In Ohio, there are no laws prohibiting unattended minors or pets in a car. However, when they’re in a vehicle and their health or safety is at risk, a driver could face child neglect or endangerment charges, or animal cruelty charges, depending on the situation. Heat stroke is a huge danger during the summer or whenever the temperatures are high. Extremely low temperatures during the winter can also pose a threat to the health and safety of minors and animals. Never leave minors or pets in an unattended vehicle for an extended period.

Unattended Vehicles

Unattended vehicles are prohibited in Ohio. Drivers must meet the following requirements when they’re exiting a car:

  • Stop the engine.
  • Lock the ignition.
  • Remove the keys.
  • Set the parking brake.

Ohio’s driving laws are in place to ensure the safest possible roadways for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Understanding these basic principles of the law is imperative for the safety of Ohio drivers.

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