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Indiana Becomes 22nd Hands-Free Driving State

Do you ever catch yourself using your phone while driving? Whether it is to scroll through social media, text someone back, or change a song on your phone to listen to – the reality is that most people are guilty of using their phone for some reason while driving. This is a habit that Hoosiers are going to have to break, though, because a new law banning the use of handheld mobile devices while driving goes into effect on July 1, 2020

In March of 2020, the Indiana House voted 81-11 and the Senate 49-1 in favor of the bill that prohibits the use of handheld mobile devices while driving. Shortly after the bill was passed through the House and the Senate, Governor Holcomb signed the bill into law.

Why Cellphone Laws Are Becoming Stricter

Indiana law already prohibits texting while driving and prohibits the use of a phone for any reason for drivers who are under the age of 18. However, law enforcement officers have found this to be a difficult law to enforce. With smartphones these days, it can be extremely difficult to distinguish between someone who is texting while driving and someone who is scrolling through social media or plugging an address into their GPS.

Since it is such a hard law to enforce, the statistics on distracted driving crashes in Indiana have only continued to rise. According to the Indiana Department of Labor, there are now more crashes related to texting and driving than drinking and driving. Governor Holcomb stated during his State of the State Address in January of 2020 that distracted driving increases the risk of a crash by three and half times, and that it is also the leading killer of teens in the United States.

What If I Need to Use My Phone While I’m Driving?

Although the new law prohibits using a handheld mobile device while driving, it does allow for drivers to use phones if they’re mounted on a vehicle’s dashboard or in hands-free mode. The law also allows drivers to hold and use a mobile device when their vehicle is stopped. Additionally, while the law goes into effect on July 1, 2020, drivers who are ticketed for using a handheld mobile device will not receive points on their driver’s license that can lead to a license suspension until July 1, 2021.

If you are ticketed for using your phone while driving, call Massillamany Jeter & Carson LLP at (317) 576-8580 to learn how we can help you. We offer free phone, video, and in-perosn consultations, so please don’t hesitate to reach our skilled attorneys for legal guidance.

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