[r52] Driver safety behind Cell Phone Bill (2/15/2011)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Start Date: 2/15/2011 All Day
End Date: 2/15/2011
STATEHOUSE - House Bill 1158 passed out of committee today by a vote of 10-1. The bill, introduced by Representative David Yarde (R-Garrett), would make it a felony to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle if you get into an accident that causes serious injury or a fatality.

The bill states that a driver using a cell phone who gets in an accident that causes serious injury to someone else may be charged with a Class D felony. If the accident results in a fatality, the driver may be charged with a Class C felony.

"Cell phone use while driving has caused a number of serious and fatal accidents across our state," said Rep. Yarde. "If you're behind the wheel and cause harm to someone else because you're distracted with a cell phone, you should face serious consequences."

The House passed a bill earlier this session that would make texting and driving illegal statewide, and a currently law already puts a statewide ban on texting and driving for drivers under the age of 18.

House Bill 1158 does not make it Illegal to use a cell phone while driving. It only punishes drivers who get into an accident while using a cell phone.

"I voted for the statewide texting ban, but have some reservations about how that law would be enforced if passed. While this bill will not eliminate cell phone use by drivers, it will put harsh penalties on drivers who cause serious or fatal accidents," said Rep. Yarde, "and I believe that will do more to deter cell phone use behind the wheel in the long run."

Rep. Yarde serves on the Roads and Transportation committee in the Indiana House of Representatives.