BEACHWOOD -- If you're traveling through the City of Beachwood, you better hang up your cell phone.
The city council has passed legislation that prohibits the use of hand-held mobile devices, including talking and texting, while driving. The new law goes into effect on July 18. Signs will be posted alerting drivers to the ban.
The new law makes violations a primary offense-meaning police can stop and cite drivers when they observe them using handheld devices.
Violators will be assessed a fine and two points for the first degree misdemeanor.
The ban will not apply to drivers using communication devices that are not handheld. Drivers will be able to legally make or receive phone calls via such hands-free devices.
"Drivers can easily be distracted by cell phone use, texting, emailing, GPS navigation or other such diversions," said Beachwood Mayor Merle Gorden. "Taking your eyes off the road at just the wrong moment can cause one to run a red light, veer from a lane or fail to notice a stopped vehicle. The consequences can be deadly."
Ohio recently passed a law banning texting while driving, though the enforcement varies depending on the whether the driver is over or under the age of 18.
Beachwood Police Chief Mark Sechrist said Beachwood's new law "more clearly prohibits the use of handheld devices within the City of Beachwood.