EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Officials are reporting that more car crashes related to texting and driving have happened across Indiana in 2020 than crashes associated with drinking and driving, according to the state’s official website.
This is why the “Hands Free Law” is going into effect on July 1 to help authorities better crack down on distracted driving.
“It is an extremely hard law to enforce, but the new law, which simply says, ‘You cannot hold your phone,‘” Sgt. Todd Ringle with Indiana State Police said “It will allow law enforcement to go out and hopefully get people to put their phones down.”
However, State Police tells 14 News that drivers will not be fined for being on their cell phones while at stop lights in Indiana.
“The law prohibits you from holding your phone when you’re moving,” Sgt. Ringle explained. “So as soon as that light turns green, you better put your phone down and just drive.”
Several other states across the country have already put hands-free driving laws in place, including Illinois.
Authorities tell 14 News the impact those states have seen has been tremendous.
“The vast majority of those states have seen a decrease of highway fatalities,” Sgt. Ringle said. “Some of those states have seen a reduction in highway fatalities by 15%. If that holds true for Indiana, we could see as many as 130 fewer fatalities on our highways.”
For those who have to make a call while driving, there are still options for that. If possible, pull over to a parking lot. If not possible, use Bluetooth and a car mount to make those calls.
If people are caught driving with that cellphone in hand starting on July 1st, they could face a fine of up to $500.