Vermilion: Tackling distracted driving

Posted by: Amy Cordill  | Thursday, February 6, 2020

With nearly nine Americans killed and more than 1,000 injured each day as a result of distracted driving, steps must be taken to combat this problem. State law currently prohibits texting when driving. However, Hoosiers use their hand-held devices in various ways, making this law hard to enforce. This session, Indiana House lawmakers are working to combat distracted driving to save lives and prevent injuries.

Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes attention away from the road. This significantly increases the chance of a motor vehicle crash.

When people hear the term “distracted driving,” many may first think of texting. However, dialing a phone to make a call can cause a driver to be six times more likely to crash. Drivers around the state continue to be distracted by their devices, whether making phone calls, taking pictures, scrolling through social media or playing games.

Legislation I supported would strengthen current state law by making it illegal for drivers in Indiana to hold cell phones or other electronic communication devices when behind the wheel. A motorist could still use their device to make calls in hands-free mode or in place of a GPS on the dash of their vehicle as long as the device is not in the driver’s hand. If passed, organizations around the state have committed to creating public awareness campaigns about hands-free driving and staying alert on the road.

With distracted driving causing so many deaths, 21 states have implemented hands-free device driving laws. It is time for Indiana to join these efforts and take action to keep Hoosiers both on and near the roads safe.

This legislation is critical in order to stop the number of Hoosiers who use their phones behind the wheel and cause injury or death to themselves, or other innocent people on the road. We all must do our part to make Indiana roadways safer by keeping our eyes on the road. For more information, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Ann Vermilion (R-Marion) represents House District 31,
which includes all of Blackford County and portions of Delaware,
Grant and Wells counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.