STATEHOUSE (Jan. 24, 2018) — A bill authored by State Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) would prohibit the use of any electronic device while driving.
Under Pressel’s bill, Indiana drivers would not be able to perform any action on an electronic communications device, like a cell phone or smartphone, while operating a motor vehicle. If caught, the offense would be a Class C infraction. The offense can be enhanced to a misdemeanor or felony if the driver has past convictions of the offense or if it results in serious bodily injury of another person.
“The main goal of this legislation is to keep Indiana drivers safe,” Pressel said. “Drivers should be focused on the road and not have the distraction of a smartphone in their hand. This bill works to end any use of a mobile phone or electronic device, not just sending texts, while operating a motor vehicle.”
Current law states that a person may not use a telecommunications device to type, transmit, or read an electronic mail message while operating. The law also states a police officer may not confiscate the telecommunication device during a traffic stop. Pressel’s legislation would change that, banning any type of hands-dependent operation of a cell phone while driving. The proposal would, however, allow drivers to operate their phones in a hands-free, such as through Bluetooth and voice activation.
According to The National Safety Council, the nation’s leading safety advocate for more than a 100 years, using a cell phone while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
State Rep. Jim Pressel represents House District 20,
which includes portions of LaPorte and Starke counties.
A high-resolution photo of Pressel can be downloaded by clicking here.