Negele, Lehe: Hoosier drivers must put down their phones

Posted by: Josh DeFonce  | Tuesday, July 7, 2020 2:27 am

STATEHOUSE (July 2, 2020) – Hoosiers can no longer hold handheld cell phones or other electronic devices while driving unless calling 911, according to State Reps. Sharon Negele (R-Attica) and Don Lehe (R-Brookston).

Negele, who supported the new law that went into effect July 1, said using hands-free and voice-operated technology like Bluetooth and speakerphone, and having phones mounted on a window or dashboard is still allowed.

“Holding a phone in your hand and looking at it while driving is dangerous, and it's definitely not worth losing your life over or hurting someone else,” Negele said. “It is a huge distraction, and this new law should help keep drivers focused on the road.”

Previously, Indiana only banned texting while driving, which included using email. During the 2020 legislative session, law enforcement officials cited the challenges they faced enforcing the law because it was difficult to distinguish texting and emailing over any other cell phone activity.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that about nine Americans die and 1,000 crashes occur each day as a result of a distracted driver.

"Whatever you are doing on your phone while driving can wait until you are safely parked or back at home," Lehe said. "Just because you have done it before and nothing happened does not mean it is safe. All it takes is one moment looking down to change everything, and hopefully, this new law will help prevent injuries and death."

Indiana joins 21 other states with similar hands-free laws, a step supported by the Indiana State Police. By their estimates, roughly 130 lives could be saved each year due to this new law.

Lehe said under the state's new hands-free law, those in violation face a Class C driving infraction.

He said the executive branch committed to a comprehensive and statewide educational campaign to inform Hoosiers about this new law. Those ticketed before July 1, 2021, will not receive points on their license as drivers use this period to adjust to the new restriction.

To learn more about House Enrolled Act 1070, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Sharon Negele (R-Attica) represents House District 13,
which includes all of Benton County, and portions of Fountain, Jasper,
Montgomery, Newton, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties. 
Click 
here for a high-resolution photo.


State Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston) represents House District 25, which
includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Tippecanoe and White counties.
Click here for a high-resolution photo.