Indiana drivers holding cellphones now face stiffer penalties

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Indiana motorists caught using handheld cellphones while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle now face increased penalties for breaking state law.

A law banning cellphone use took effect in July 2020 to combat distracted driving. That law allowed tickets of up to $500 against violators but delayed by a year any state Bureau of Motor Vehicles points toward a driver’s license suspension.

Violations will now result in four points against a driver’s license, BMV officials said. License suspensions start once a driver has accumulated 20 points within a two-year period.

Texting and other handheld cellphone use is a frequent cause of crashes, officials said. State law allows cellphone use by drivers only with hands-free or voice-operated technology, except in emergencies.

Drivers also face additional points for speeding in school or construction zones. Those violations will now result in four to eight points against a license, depending on how fast the driver was going.

“Traveling Indiana roads is a shared endeavor that is only made safer when we are aware of the law and making good decisions behind the wheel,” Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Peter Lacy said during a Thursday news conference.

Police officers across Indiana issued nearly 5,500 tickets and about 10,500 warnings during the first year of the handheld cellphone ban, state officials said.

State Police Capt. Ron Galaviz said many officers have tried to educate drivers about the new law but will from now on be issuing more tickets than warnings.

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6 thoughts on “Indiana drivers holding cellphones now face stiffer penalties

    1. Stephen, I agree. Theirs not enough police to ticket the distracted drivers I see everyday which is staggering. Police writing tickets is not the answer and I don’t know what is, but it needs to stop. Every time I see someone crossing the center line, going into the shoulder or sitting at a green light and not moving, you always see them looking down at their phone and it’s a daily occurrence, not some occasional thing.

  1. I have seen ZERO PEOPLE pulled over for this law. Sure I glance at my phone and answer calls on speak phone but I never text or SnapChat while driving. I see people texting and driving everyday.

  2. Big difference between texting and talking on cellphone. Statute sounds like talking on the cellphone if you have to hold it is now illegal. That will be hard on those with older cars or broken radios!

    1. “is *now* illegal”? IIRC, it’s been illegal for some time…ditto for even having it in your hand. I stopped for an accident the other day and told the driver who was hit to not swap driver info & leave because I’d willingly stay until the cop came to state I watched the other driver cause the accident while they were texting with their cell phone. The other driver was a bit (actually, more than a bit) upset but it was *their* fault.