If you’re an Indiana resident, you may have heard something about the new cell phone law. The new Indiana cell phone law is an effort to cut down on distracted driving. Cell phones are one of the most common distractions behind the wheel. In this post, we’ll examine the new law and what it means for Hoosiers.
The new cell phone law went into effect on July 1, 2020.
As of July 1, drivers in Indiana are prohibited from holding or using a cell phone while driving. This means you can no longer hold your phone up to your ear while driving. Texting and driving is already banned in Indiana.
Hands-free technology (e.g., Bluetooth or a cradle) is still allowed. If there’s an emergency while you’re driving and you need to call 911, that’s allowed. Other than that, you cannot hold or use a cell phone while driving in Indiana. Law enforcement can pull over drivers who violate this law, which can result in a Class C infraction with fines up to $500.
Because the law is so new and some drivers may not know about it, drivers who are ticketed for using or holding a cell phone while driving before July 1, 2021 will not receive points on their license. Make sure your friends and family are aware of this new law!
Distracted driving kills.
Everyone knows distracted driving is dangerous. Even so, people are still using their cell phones while driving! You may think you’re a "good" driver and it’s safe for you to use your cell phone while driving, but it’s not. According to NHTSA, distracted driving killed 2,841 people in 2018 (the most recent data available). This included 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians, and 77 bicyclists. Many more collisions and injuries happened because of distracted driving. Taking your attention off the road for even a moment can cause serious damage to yourself and others.
How can you prevent distracted driving?
Here’s the truth: even hands-free technology can be a distraction on the road. Anything that takes your eyes off of the road, your hands off of the wheel, or your mind off of driving is a distraction, and as we detailed above, distracted driving is super dangerous. When you’re dictating a text message or taking a work call on your Bluetooth, you’re not as focused on the road and therefore may not notice a hazard in enough time to avoid it.
That’s why it’s important to limit your distractions on the road as much as you possibly can. Turn on "Do Not Disturb While Driving" mode on your smart phone, if you can. This will silence notifications and send a message to anyone who contacts you, letting them know you’re on the road and will call them back once you’re finished driving. If you absolutely have to use your cell phone, make sure it’s hands-free. Avoid doing too many things at once while behind the wheel. For example, if you’re lost and trying to find the correct exit, that may not be the best time to answer a phone call on your Bluetooth.
Keep in mind that cell phones aren’t the only distraction in the car. Typing an address into your GPS while driving isn’t much different from texting, since it takes your eyes, hands, and attention off of driving. Eating your breakfast on the way to work is a distraction because it takes your hands off the wheel. Think about what distractions you have on the road, and do your best to limit them.
Safe2Drive is here to help!
For more driving tips and tricks, take one of our Indiana online driving courses! Our online Indiana Driver Education course is perfect for Hoosiers who are at least 15 years old and need to meet licensing requirements, or to refresh your knowledge of driving laws and skills. We also offer Indiana Driver Safety Program courses you can take to meet a BMV requirement, satisfy a court order, and/or get a 4-point credit on your driver’s license. People under age 55 can take our Insurance Discount course, and if you’re at least age 55, you can take our Mature Driver Improvement course. Our courses are a great way to keep up on the latest driving laws in Indiana. Visit our website to register for a course today!