Indiana Senate passes ban on holding cell phones while driving

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The Indiana Senate has approved legislation that would ban drivers from holding cell phones while operating a motor vehicle.

House Bill 1070, authored by Rep. Holli Sullivan, R-Evansville, would prohibit individuals from using a mobile device while driving unless using hands-free or voice-operated technology. Calling 911 would be an exception to the prohibition.

The legislation would replace the state’s existing ban on texting while driving, which law enforcement officials have said is not enforceable.

The issue is a top legislative priority for Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Supporters of HB 1070 have argued that it would be a step forward in getting more drivers to pay attention to the road.

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

Sen. Michael Crider, R-Greenfield, sponsored the bill in the Senate and said Indiana would join 21 other states that have similar laws.

“It’s time for us to take the next step in trying to curb this activity,” Crider said. “I’ve heard just about every excuse that might exist… This is the right thing to do.”

The measure has gotten more support than initially expected in the Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly after GOP leaders suggested some lawmakers had concerns about the legislation infringing on individual freedoms.

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

The Senate approved the bill 43-4 on Tuesday as Republican Sens. Phil Boots, Mike Young, Chip Perfect and Jean Leising voted against it.

The legislation returns to the House, where lawmakers are expected to agree with the amendment made in the Senate. The House passed a similar version of the bill 86-10 on Jan. 29.

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4 thoughts on “Indiana Senate passes ban on holding cell phones while driving

  1. I am glad this passed. It won’t stop all accidents from those using their phones while driving, but will hopefully stand as a warning to casual offenders on how dangerous that practice really is.

  2. Public Safety cannot be legislated…Has been tried and tried with limited to no good results..These safety issues need to start at home, school and employer….Life style changes needed…Government cant fix anything ! Not all vehicles have blue tooth for a navigation device or other needs not involving texting, face time etc while driving…

  3. I think this is a good idea. This is a huge problem on the roads, as I have almost had people crash into me while staring at a phone. I would bet that the phone manufacturers already have the technology to limit or disable certain functions while a car is moving. If not, they should be pushed to develop it.