Pressel: Hoosier drivers must put down their phones beginning July 1

Posted by: Josh DeFonce  | Thursday, June 25, 2020 11:55 am

STATEHOUSE (June 24, 2020) – Starting July 1, Hoosiers cannot hold cell phones or other electronic devices while driving unless calling 911, according to State Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie).

Pressel, who co-authored the new law, said using hands-free and voice-operated technology like Bluetooth and speakerphone, and having phones mounted on a window or dashboard is still allowed.

"Many Hoosiers use their phones while driving behind the wheel, which has led to injuries and even deaths that could have been avoided," Pressel said. "This law, along with increased awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, should deter people from driving distracted and save lives."

Currently, Indiana only bans texting while driving, which includes using email. During the 2020 legislative session, law enforcement officials cited the challenges they faced enforcing the law as it is 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.

On July 1, Indiana will join 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.

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

He said the executive branch has 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. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) represents House District 20,
which includes portions of LaPorte and Starke counties.
Click
 here for a high-resolution photo.