Q: Are police officers required to have parking/headlights illuminated while monitoring traffic?

A: Ohio law requires lights on emergency vehicles to be displayed and viewed from a distance of 500 feet, only if they pose a road hazard or are in a potentially hazardous area for the motor vehicle operating public. This means that if a police car is safely parked and is not posing a hazard to oncoming traffic they can monitor for speeders or other violators without any lights on.

Q: Some rural roads do not have a posted speed limit sign. What is the speed?

A: All unmarked township roads in the state of Ohio are 55 mph.

Q: I'm allowed to go 5-10 miles over the speed limit, right?

A: Ohio law states that a police officer may cite an individual for traveling at 1 mph faster than the posted speed limit. Also, during inclement and/or dangerous weather, you may be cited for speeding when actually traveling at or below the posted speed limit. Your safest bet is to always drive safely.

Q: Can I be pulled over for not wearing my seat belt?

A: Currently, in the state of Ohio, the requirement of seat belt use is mandatory. However, it is not a primary violation, which means that you can only be cited for failing to wear your seat belt if you have been stopped for another violation. The exception to this is a juvenile occupying a front seat.

Q: Do I have to wear a seat belt if I am a passenger?

A: Ohio law states that only passengers occupying a position in the front of an automobile are required to use a seat belt including the driver of the automobile. We recommend that all passengers wear their seat belts.

Q: Who receives the citation for a passenger not wearing a seat belt?

A: The passenger is cited and responsible for the violation.

Q: If I am stopped by a police officer and do not have my driver's license or state ID on me at the time of the stop what is the length of time I have to provide my driver's license or ID to the police officer or the police department?

A: You must provide your driver's license or state ID immediately when requested by a police officer. If you do not provide the necessary ID at the requested time the officer can request you contact someone to bring your ID to the scene. The police officer may also take your picture and fingerprints as proof of identification. Be advised that Ohio Law states that a person who fails to provide a valid drivers license or satisfactory proof of such is the considered to not have a valid drivers license at all.

Q: I received both the front and rear license plate from the BMV but my car does not have a bracket for a front license plate. Do I have to have a front plate on my car?

A: Ohio Law requires both front and rear license plates be clearly displayed on a passenger vehicle while operating upon public roadways. If you do not have a front license plate bracket you should contact your automobile dealer or auto parts retailer to purchase one and then you should install the bracket and mount the front plate without delay.

Q: I have been thinking about purchasing a license plate cover for my vehicle but was advised by a friend that license plate covers are illegal. Is this true?

A: You must clearly display the license plate number, county and validation sticker while operating a motor vehicle upon a public roadway. A majority of the license plate covers on the market are tinted and make the license plate hard to read (not clearly displayed). Also, if you do purchase a clear, flat license plate cover and the cover becomes scratched, your license plate is not clearly displayed. You must also be aware of license plate frames. A majority of the frames on the market obscure either the county name or validation sticker or both which then make your license plates not clearly displayed.

Q: What is Ohio's stance on RADAR/LASER detectors?

A: In Ohio, detectors (not jammers) are legal on all vehicles except those requiring a Commercial Drivers License (tractor trailers, etc). Please note that this law varies from state to state. In New York, for instance, detectors are completely illegal. Jammers are illegal everywhere.

If you have any questions regarding the FAQ's listed on this page or would like to ask a question of your own please visit the Ask An Officer page and direct your questions to Sgt. Andrew Shuster