STATEHOUSE (June 23, 2020) – Starting July 1, Hoosiers cannot hold handheld cell phones or other electronic devices while driving unless calling 911, according to State Rep. Holli Sullivan (R-Evansville).
Sullivan, who 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.
“We need a cultural shift in order to stop crashes caused by distracted driving,” said Sullivan, chair of the House Roads and Transportation Committee. “Indiana will be a safer place for everyone if we all put our phones down and focus on driving.”
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.
Sullivan said under the state's new hands-free law, those in violation face a Class C driving infraction.
She 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.
State Rep. Holli Sullivan (R-Evansville) represents House District 78,
which includes portions of Vanderburgh and Warrick counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.
PHOTO CAPTION: State Rep. Holli Sullivan (R-Evansville) in the House Chamber highlights the need to prevent distracted driving in order to save lives Jan. 29, 2020, at the Statehouse. As chair of the House Committee on Roads and Transportation, Sullivan authored the state's new law effective July 1 banning drivers from holding their electronic devices behind the wheel unless they are calling 911.