If you are driving in Ohio today make certain you put your phone down and concentrate on driving. The state’s new texting-while-driving ban takes effect today making it the 39th state to ban the use of handheld devices (in one form or another) behind the wheel.

The new law makes texting-while-driving a secondary offense for adults, meaning officers cannot pull adults over based solely on suspicions of texting while driving. Also, although the law goes into effect today drivers cannot be legally cited for violating the law until March 1 of next year.

However, you can bet that police will begin reminding drivers of the new law the first opportunity they get. They cannot pull pull you over on suspicion of texting while driving, but they can pull you over and give you a friendly reminder. Or, if they witness you in the act, or have reason to believe you were texting while driving (such as erratic driving behavior) they can certainly make a legal traffic stop.

Besides, the goal here is not to encourage people to text while drive and keep it carefully hidden from police. The goal is to save lives by reminding drivers that driving requires their full attention, not just a glance at the road ahead every few characters or so.

Although public traffic safety experts still debate whether distracted driving is more or less deadly than driving under the influence of alcohol, there is no debate that distracted driving does kill. Every year thousands of drivers are reported to have lost control of their vehicle, or collided with something because they were texting, or simply distracted by their handheld device.

For your sake, and the sake of everyone sharing the road with you, put down the device, obey the law, and be a good defensive driver.