Indiana's hands-free law goes into effect

Yolanda Curtis
July 4, 2020

It means not to touch your cell phone while driving. It's a Class C infraction penalized by a fine of up to $500.

Meanwhile, states that adopted hands-free driving law saw a almost 20% decrease in traffic deaths in the two years after passing the law, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Distracted driving is a huge problem in Indiana.

As of July 1, is illegal to operate or hold an electronic device while you are driving in a vehicle. There are also many different clips and holders that can be used to mount your phone inside your auto.

"The preference would be that you just don't make that call at all while you're driving - pull off to the side of the road or just wait until your trip's over", Huls said. "Typing or reading a text takes your eyes off the road an average of five seconds".

While that does not seem like a long time, a person driving at 55 miles per hour travels the length of a football field in 5 seconds. This includes texting, making a phone call, searching for directions, checking your fantasy football lineup and anything else you can do with a phone. When asked, most people who admit that they text while driving claim to be able to do it safely. "This law is about protecting those who travel our roads and those who build and maintain them by preventing as many crashes as possible through smart education and enforcement".

"I'm sure it was a two-second thing to look down at the phone and there was my husband", Seyer said. However, the law does permit drivers to use voice-operated or hands-free technology, such as Bluetooth or speakerphone.

State police said they are going to be using the next few months to educate drivers and will likely start writing tickets for holding your cell phone later this year. 1070 will make it much easier to keep the roadways safer and watch out for distracted drivers. Beginning in July 2021, drivers will also have points assessed against their driver's licenses for violating the law.

As your prosecutor, I hope we never have occasion to have to enforce these new provisions. As always, please feel free to contact our office with any questions you may have about complying with the new law.

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