Distracted driving has long been a major risk factor for motor vehicle crashes, and the increasing use of cell phones has no doubt contributed to the problem. So it’s no surprise that Indiana has now joined over 20 other states in enacting a law that bans the use of cell phones while driving. Illinois has taken recent action, too, increasing the penalties for drivers who hit or injure someone while texting or using a cell phone.
With different restrictions to be aware of from one state to the next, the legal team at Tanzillo Stassin & Babcock, P.C. wants to help local drivers understand the new law and how it may impact them. Our experienced criminal law attorneys have helped many people dealing with a driver’s license suspension in Northwest Indiana, and we may be able to help you too.
Is All Cell Phone Use While Driving Banned in Indiana?
Indiana’s new law aimed at reducing distracted driving, HB 1070, was passed by the state’s legislature in March and took effect on July 1, 2020. The law says that a driver may not “hold or use a telecommunications device while operating a moving motor vehicle.” The use of hands-free Bluetooth devices or voice-assisted calling is still permitted, as well as using a cell phone to call 911. Drivers who are ticketed for cell phone use while driving could be fined anywhere from $25 to $500.
This replaces the previous language in the state code that made reading, typing, or sending a text message while driving illegal. Now, any hand-held use of a cell phone while driving is banned, except for requesting emergency services, as noted above.
Hands-Free Driving Laws May Help Prevent Car Accident Injuries
A 2019 study involving 16 states found that those who enacted a ban on texting while driving saw, on average, a 4% decrease in emergency room visits related to car crashes when compared to the year before when the ban was not in place.
The bill that lead to Indiana’s law was supported by many of the region’s representatives, whose districts include some of the busiest highways in the state. According to Indiana State Police, distracted driving was to blame for at least 860 injury crashes and 48 fatalities in 2019. Although the majority of distracted driving accidents are not deadly, they are still very costly for Hoosiers. The injuries from a car accident, even a minor one, can leave people unable to work or facing excessive medical bills.
Experienced Attorneys Working to Protect You and Your Driving Privileges
At Tanzillo Stassin & Babcock, P.C., our lawyers handle both criminal matters and personal injury cases, and we understand just how difficult it can be to move on after a serious auto accident. We appreciate the efforts of our state leaders in working to keep Hoosiers safe on the road.
If you’ve been impacted by a car or truck accident, we have attorneys who may be able to help. We’ve assisted hundreds of Northwest Indiana residents in resolving a wide range of legal matters. Whether you’re dealing with serious injuries or multiple traffic violations, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to discuss your case. Contact the offices of Tanzillo Stassin & Babcock, P.C. today to request a free initial consultation.