Statewide—On July 1, 2020, a new law will take effect in Indiana that prohibits the operator of a motor vehicle from holding or operating cell phones or other similar electronic devices while the vehicle is in motion.
The new law states that “a person may not hold or use a telecommunications device while operating a motor vehicle.” This law applies to wireless phones, personal digital assistants, pagers, or other text messaging devices.
Exceptions to this are if you are using hands-free or voice-operated technology, if you are calling 911 to report an emergency, if you are an amateur radio operator, or if you are using a CB in a commercial vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 lbs.
Drivers will not violate the law if they press a button to turn the device on or to answer a call.
Driver inattention is a factor in more than 1.6 million crashes in North America annually, resulting in serious injuries, deaths, and an economic impact that some experts say reaches nearly $400 Billion per year. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for approximately 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that is like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
The use of a cell phone while driving increases your chance of getting into a crash by 400%. In other states with a similar law already in effect, there has been a 15% decrease in the number of traffic fatalities. If the same stats hold true for Indiana, this law could save approximately 130 lives on Indiana roadways each year.