Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog

Indiana Hands-Free Cell Phone Law Penalizes Violators

Indiana recently passed a law that would stiffly penalize motorists who use handheld cell phones while driving. Indiana now is one of only 22 states that have laws banning the use of handheld cell phone while driving.

The law would impose a strict fine of $500 on motorists who use handheld cell phones while driving. The law does not apply to the use of hands- free sets at the wheel. The bill was a fairly popular one and passed the legislature 86 to 10. It aims to hold motorists responsible and accountable for actions that can endanger their safety as well as the safety of others on the road with them. The law applies to persons holding a cell phone while driving.  The only exception to the law is when a person needs to use a handheld device to call 911 to report an emergency.

There already is a law that bans motorists in Indiana from texting while driving.  This new law, however, would expand the ban to all motorists using a hand held cell phone while driving.  In 2016, a federal court held that it’s impossible for police officers to determine if a person is using a handheld cellphone to text or to check an app, read an email, or any other activity not banned under the law. This new law takes most of the doubt over the efficacy of such legislation away by effectively banning the use of a handheld cell phone for any activity while driving a car.

Obviously, traffic safety advocates have been pleased at the passing of the law that would go a long way in holding Hoosiers accountable for actions that put others’ lives and safety at risk.  There is enough evidence to show that holding a cell phone  and using it to type or read a text message or type an email, check social media,  or have a conversation is extremely dangerous. There are two types of hazards that are raised with such use of a hand-held cell phone.  First, the eyes are taken away from the road. When a motorist takes his eyes away from the road for even a few seconds, there can be serious consequences. Besides, when a motorist is using only one hand to steer the car, there is a risk that he may be unable to make the kind of emergency maneuvers that are needed to avoid an accident.