Indiana is about to join 21 other states with a bill that would ban all uses of phones for drivers, according to FOX59. The House measure passed a Senate committee 8-1 on Tuesday, February 18, 2020. The bill was then sent to the Senate floor.
If the bill becomes law, it will prohibit drivers from holding or handling phones for any reason. Phones must be mounted and/or connect through a hands-free device.
Indiana's current texting and driving law
The Hoosier State has had a texting and driving ban in place since 2011. It doesn't apply to all other uses of handheld devices, however. That means drivers can currently make phone calls, use apps, program GPS navigation, and take pictures and video behind the wheel. That's as long as they aren't sending or reading text messages.
This makes the law difficult to enforce. If a police officer pulls a driver over for holding a phone, all the driver has to say is that he or she wasn't texting. With a universal phone ban, drivers can't do that.
Phone ban gains support from Indiana residents
Governor Eric Holcomb called for a law that would crack down on driver phone use in January. The governor's call to action received support from several Indiana residents, some of whom were crash victims or families of crash victims. Few residents opposed the proposed law, saying that additional laws are not the answer.
One Indiana state trooper has seen motorists do appalling things while driving. One driver was even seen Facetiming behind the wheel.
“I have seen drivers not paying attention while on their cell phone, I've seen people reading books, applying makeup, clipping a fingernail, watching movies and just a whole variety of things," said Trooper Chris Hanson.
Victims of distracted driving have the right to take legal action
Distracted driving kills around 3,000 people each year, according to federal statistics. Distracted drivers tend to be overconfident in their ability to multitask behind the wheel. They don't recognize the risk they take until it's too late.
The car accident attorneys at Vaughan & Vaughan applaud the efforts of state lawmakers to crack down on distracted driving. Unfortunately, the law won't stop all motorists from using their phones while driving. If you or a loved one was injured because of their reckless actions, our attorneys can help.
Our law firm has been helping injured people in the greater Lafayette area maximize their compensation since 1913. Contact us online to find out how we can help you.