Cell Phone Use While Driving Can Now Bring $500 Fine in Indiana

Distracted driving has always been an issue on our roadways, but the increased use of cell phones has made the problem worse, leading to more crashes and more injuries. In response, Indiana has enacted a hands-free driving law to discourage cell phone use while driving. This law replaces previous legislation related to texting and driving and differs slightly from laws in neighboring states, which can be confusing for Indiana drivers. 

The attorneys at Arshad, Pangere & Warring, LLP are here to help Northwest Indiana drivers avoid violations under the new law by explaining what is now banned and what is acceptable. If you’re facing serious traffic violations, consult with our Merrillville driver’s license defense attorneys today.

Hands-Free Driving Laws May Help Prevent Car Accident Injuries

Before we discuss the specifics of the law, let’s look at why the state decided to take action on distracted driving. According to Indiana State Police, over 10,000 crashes in Indiana were caused by distracted drivers in 2019. And unfortunately, many of these incidents lead to serious injuries or even death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2018 that over 2,800 people were killed by distracted driving that year, including 27 Hoosiers. So, while the new law may be inconvenient for some, lawmakers saw it as an important step toward protecting Indiana motorists.

What Does Indiana’s New Distracted Driving Law Cover?

House Bill 1070, known commonly as the distracted driving bill, prohibits drivers from using a hand-held telecommunications device while they are driving, or in control of, a motor vehicle. This means that even while stopped at a red light, using a hand-held device is prohibited. The only exception is for calling 911. The use of voice-operated or hands-free technology, such as Bluetooth, is still allowed. The law goes on to describe circumstances when a police officer may confiscate a driver’s cell phone.

Indiana’s previous law was narrower in scope and covered only texting and driving. But the new law bans all use of a hand-held cell phone while driving. For example, under the old law, holding a phone to check directions while driving may not have been a violation, but it would be under the new law.

Penalties for Cell Phone Use While Driving in Indiana

Drivers who are ticketed under the new distracted driving law could receive a fine of up to $500 for this Class C infraction. Plus, beginning in July 2021, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles can add points to a driver’s license for this violation. Drivers who receive too many points can have their license suspended.

Protecting and Defending Indiana Motorists is What We Do

Drivers have to take many steps to keep themselves, their passengers, and other drivers safe, including avoiding distracted driving. The team of attorneys at Arshad, Pangere & Warring, LLP understand that even good drivers sometimes make mistakes, and when that happens, you deserve to work with a strong advocate who can help defend your right to drive. Contact our office today if you’ve been charged with a serious traffic violation, or your license has been suspended.

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