Hands Free While Driving Law Begins Wednesday

Hands Free While Driving Law Begins Wednesday

Starting Wednesday, it will be illegal to hold your phone in your hand while driving on in roads.

Once the law is in effect, drivers will be prohibited from having a mobile device in their hands when their vehicles are moving, unless they are dialing 911 in an emergency.

Talking or texting on a cellphone is a form of distracted driving and it's unsafe, highway safety officials warn. "Making a phone call while driving may increase your odds of being in a crash by as much as 400%", said ISP Sgt Carey Huls. "So you can't have your finger on your phone and be texting or sending an email". "If you drive 55 miles per hour, you will travel the length of a football field in that same period". When asked, most people who admit that they text while driving claim to be able to do it safely.

In 2019, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute reported that distracted driving with mobile devices was a factor in at least 1,263 crashes and three fatal crashes. The National Safety Council reports that cellphone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Touching a phone to, for example, check the weather or look at a photo while driving is not allowed. Drivers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with their vehicle's hands-free technology and may wish to research aftermarket products that facilitate its use, such as a phone mount, said Huls.

Although the preference would be that phones be placed in do-not-disturb mode while driving, there are plenty of hand-free options available. Beginning in July 2021, drivers may also have points assessed against their Driver's Licenses for violating the law.

As your prosecutor, I hope we never have occasion to have to enforce these new provisions. As always, please feel free to contact our office with any questions you may have about complying with the new law.

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