If you live in Indiana or plan on traveling to Indiana be aware that all drivers will be banned from using handheld cellphones on Indiana roads starting in July 1, 2020. This legislation signed by Governor Eric Holcomb makes Indiana the 22nd state to prohibit drivers from holding or using a handheld mobile device while operating a motor vehicle.
What does this mean for motorists?
Drivers violating the law, after July 1, can be fined up to $500 and potentially lose their driver’s license if violations are repeated. Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb was quoted as saying “Distracted driving increases the risk of a crash by more than 3½ times and is a leading killer of teenagers in America. This is unacceptable and avoidable.”
Once the new law takes effect, touching a phone to, for example, to check the weather or look at a photo while driving will be banned. The new measure specifies, however, that it will be legal for drivers to use phones if they are mounted on a vehicle’s dashboard or in hands-free mode.
Drivers may still make calls or access their phones through hands-free technology, such as via a headset or Bluetooth.
One provision of the law states that motorists who are ticketed before July 1, 2021 for using a cellphone while driving will not receive points on their license, which can lead to license suspension.
Drivers will be able to hold and use a mobile device when their vehicle is stopped.
What does Indiana law say about texting?
Texting while driving was banned in Indiana back in 2011, prohibiting drivers from typing, transmitting or reading a text message or email while operating a vehicle, unless they are using hands-free or voice-operated technology or in an emergency situation contacting 911. Unfortunately, Indiana law enforcement has found it difficult to enforce.
If you are pulled over for possible texting violation it is important to know, that a police officer cannot confiscate a cellphone to determine your compliance with this law and he/she may not download information from it unless he/she believes there is probable cause that the mobile devise was used in a crime or the officer has a search warrant. If he/she does see you, they may issue a ticket or written warning for this infraction.
A friendly reminder for Indiana youth & cellphone use!
Individual younger than the age of 21 are prohibited from operating a vehicle while using a telecommunications device (cellular phone), unless to contact 911 for an emergency.
Why is Indiana implementing such a law?
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute reports that every year since 2015, there were just over 1,200 collisions on Indiana roads where a cellphone or other electronic device was a factor, which resulted in 40 total fatalities.
“This is about saving lives,” Indian’s Governor Eric Holcomb said in a statement to IndyStar Jan. 16. “We know that a handheld device do three things. One: It takes your brain off what you are supposed to be paying attention to. Two: It takes your hands off of what you’re supposed to be holding on to. Three: It diverts your attention. When your hands and your eyes and your brain are all doing something other than steering a car, bad things tend to happen.”
Safe travels and be sure to stop in Scott County on your drive!