Distracted driving legislation approved by both chambers, heads to Holcomb

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Get ready to put your cell phones down in the car.

Legislation that bans drivers from holding or using cell phones while operating a motor vehicle passed the Indiana House and Senate on Tuesday and heads to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is expected to sign it into law.

The issue was a top legislative priority for the governor. The House voted 81-11 to approve House Bill 1070 and the Senate voted 49-1.

The bill, authored by Rep. Holli Sullivan, R-Evansville, prohibits individuals from using a mobile device while driving unless using hands-free or voice-operated technology. Calling 911 is an exception to the prohibition, which is slated to go into effect July 1.

The legislation will replace the state’s existing ban on texting while driving, which law enforcement officials have said is almost impossible to enforce.

Supporters of the measure maintain the measure will be a step forward in getting drivers to pay more attention to the road.

“We want people to put their devices down when they get in the car,” state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, said.

The bill does not restrict a driver from using a phone that is mounted on the dashboard or placed somewhere else in the vehicle, so individuals will still be able to use phones for GPS services or to make calls through Bluetooth technology or on speaker phones.

Lawmakers say education will be key and included language in the bill to initially ease the penalty for drivers who are caught disobeying the law. Drivers who are pulled over and receive tickets for being on their phones will not be subject to any points against their license until July 1, 2021.

The legislation received more support than initially expected in the Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly. Some GOP lawmakers had expressed concerns about infringing on individual freedoms.

Some critics of the bill contend drivers are distracted in many other ways, such as eating while driving.

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4 thoughts on “Distracted driving legislation approved by both chambers, heads to Holcomb

  1. The most dangerous thing on our interstates right now is the lower speed for Semis Vs cars. This Speed difference creates a lot of unnecessary congestion which is very unsafe.

    It might have been a well intended idea but the reality is it’s a bad idea which is clearly why other states have not followed suit.

  2. But feel free to continue drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette and putting makeup on at the same time.

    A better course of action would be to have the insurance companies raise the deductible to 10X (lot details to work out) as listed on the policy with immediate surrender of the electronic device if you involved in accident. The majority of the accidents will go deep into the pocket and that is much more painful than a $125 ticket and 2 points.

    If the police try and pull over everyone watching videos. texting and are hand held talking they may as well pull over 40% of the vehicles on the road. I could personally write 30 tickets a day.

    I’m sure the legislators are feel real good about this, but this to will pass.

  3. Pointless. This is definitely going to get people to pay more attention to the road, just as well as it has in every other state it’s failed to move the needle. Cell phone bans don’t work.

    But I guess I’ll reinstall my phone mount… Wait, a mounted phone is legal but just HOLDING the phone for a second isn’t?

    And how does an officer prove in court that you were holding a phone? “I saw it in your hand” Ok, so it’s just their word now? Great, another reason you can be pulled over, detained, and ticketed because Officer Underquota doesn’t like your bumper stickers.

  4. All efforts to legislate safety are not successful…Ck with other states and note the lack of success..Impeding the rights of most people/drivers.. Rediculous !
    With this latest restriction it is now necessary to make it a specific illegal offense to eat or drink while driving and this offense should also include the application of make up etcetc…An all inclusive offense subject to loss of driving privileges….This legislative action is all B/S…
    How about the legislature considering a real issue that relates to the rediculous cost for liscensing and registering a motorcycle.. The cost is the same as a comparable priced car and car is useful 12 months vs 6-7 months max for a motorcycle…