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Ohio Traffic Laws

Understanding Ohio's road regulations and traffic laws is crucial for ensuring your safety behind the wheel. It can also help you avoid a ticket from a law enforcement officer and a subsequent mark on your driving record.

In the article, you will learn more about Ohio traffic rules and motor vehicle laws.

Use the following driving manuals and vehicle codes:

The comprehensive manuals and vehicle codes in the bullets above cover many topics. The links at the end of this article also go in-depth about state-specific traffic laws.

This article and the linked materials will help Ohio drivers learn about:

  • Common traffic laws, such as who has the right of way, what happens if you run a red light, how to complete a left turn, and where to make a U-turn
  • Required equipment for towing vehicles or equipment
  • Parking restrictions for intersections, highway bridges, tunnels, and alongside parked vehicles
  • Pedestrian control signals and crosswalks
  • Speed limit information for varying roadways, including interstate highways, county roads, and private roads
  • Unreasonably slow speeds and how to legally pass slow-moving vehicles
  • Rules for situations like overtaking a school bus and driving through a school zone
  • Guidelines for railroad crossings, grade crossings, and streetcars
  • Yielding to emergency vehicles and public safety vehicles
  • Penalties for offenses like reckless driving and street racing

Impaired Driving in Ohio

In Ohio, the terms OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) and OMVI (Operating a Motor Vehicle Impaired) refer to impaired or intoxicated driving offenses.

Most other states use the terms DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) to describe similar offenses.

  • OVI is the most commonly used term in Ohio for drunk or impaired driving offenses. You can be charged with OVI as the operator of a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. This term is focused more on impaired operation rather than the specific intoxicating substance used.
  • OMVI was the previous official term for impaired driving offenses in Ohio but was changed to OVI in 1982. Older references may still use OMVI to refer to the offense.

An OVI conviction is more than a minor misdemeanor. It is a serious offense. Specific penalties depend on the circumstances and prior convictions and can include:

Speeding in Ohio

Obeying the speed limit is the best way Ohio motorists can avoid a ticket from a local authority or state highway patrol.

Maximum speed limits are intended for ideal driving conditions only. Slow down for inclement weather, reduced visibility, and hazardous road conditions.

Typical speed limits include:

  • Interstate highways and expressways: 70 mph
  • Other highways outside villages and cities, including county and township roads: 55 mph
  • City, village, and municipality streets, including state highways within boundaries: Speed limits vary based on land use
  • Private property roads or driveways in residential areas: Owners may establish a speed limit if they meet certain requirements
  • Construction zones and safety zones: Speed limits may vary, obey the posted limit

Use extra care in construction zones. Speeding tickets issued in these zones can be especially costly.

Drinking & Driving Violations

Traffic laws: driving while intoxicated

(ORC Ch. 4511.19 to 4511.197)

Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License

Operation without a valid license prohibited

(ORC section 4507.02)

Driving Without Insurance / With Insufficient Insurance

Financial responsibility

(ORC Chapter 4509)

Driving Without Registration / With Expired Registration

Licensing of motor vehicles

(ORC Chapter 4503)

Illegal U-Turn

Rules for turns at intersections

(ORC section 4511.36)

Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit & Run

Failure to stop after an accident involving the property of others

(ORC section 4549.03)

Mechanical Violations

Traffic laws: equipment

(ORC Chapter 4513)

Reckless Driving

Willful or wanton operation on street or highway

(ORC section 4511.20)

Running a Red Light / Stop Sign

Obeying traffic control devices

(ORC section 4511.12)

Seat Belt / Child Restraint Violations

Occupant restraining devices

(ORC section 4513.263)


Speed limits

(ORC section 4511.21)

Unlawful Vehicle Modifications

Traffic laws: equipment

(ORC Chapter 4513)

Traffic Violation? Get Help Now

If you have been ticketed for a traffic citation such as running a stop sign in the state of Ohio, you should contact a traffic ticket attorney in your area.

An experienced attorney can review your citation to ensure the police officer followed Ohio traffic laws. This may save you an expensive fine and keep points off your driver's license.

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