News In Brief

A new law prohibiting drivers from holding mobile devices while driving will take effect July 1.

This law, an effort by Gov. Eric Holcomb to make Indiana roads safer, was a key piece of Holcomb’s 2020 legislative agenda and was approved with bipartisan support by the Indiana General Assembly in March.

“As drivers, we all have a responsibility to our fellow Hoosiers to limit eye and hand distractions that can result in tragic injuries and death,” Holcomb said in a statement. “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.”

Once the law is in effect, drivers will be prohibited from having a mobile device in their hands when their vehicles are moving, unless they are dialing 911 in an emergency. However, the law does permit drivers to use voice-operated or hands-free technology, such as Bluetooth or speakerphone.

“Drivers need to keep their eyes up, hands on the wheel and stay focused on driving to keep everyone on our roads safe,” Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness said. “The Hands Free While Driving law will save lives by reducing the number of senseless crashes that happen as a result of distracted driving.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, states with hands-free driving laws on the books have seen a nearly 20 percent decrease in traffic deaths.

“Nothing on your phone or tablet justifies taking your focus off the road and putting lives at risk,” Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said. “Our mission is to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving and enforce the hands-free while driving law to get every person traveling and working on our roads home safely.”

For the first few months after the bill is enforced, Indiana State Police will focus on educating drivers on the new law and safety benefits of not using your phone while driving. However, after the initial education campaign, drivers violating the law will be subject to a fine. Beginning in July 2021, drivers will also have points assessed against their driver’s licenses for violating the law.

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