Governor Eric Holcomb issued a reminder this week that a new law takes effect on Wednesday that prohibits drivers from holding mobile devices in their hands while driving.
Once the Hands Free While Driving Law takes effect, drivers cannot use mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets, while driving, except to call for emergency services.
Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness says the Hands Free While Driving Law will save lives by “…reducing the number of senseless crashes that happen as a result of distracted driving”.
The law does permit the use of voice-operated or hands-free technology such as speakerphone, Bluetooth or headset.
In 2019, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute reported that distracted driving with mobile devices was a factor in at least 1,263 crashes and three fatal crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, states that have passed hands free driving laws have seen a nearly 20 percent decrease in traffic deaths in the two years following the passage of the law.
The Indiana State Police will be working on educating drivers on the new law in the next few months. Drivers found in violation of the Hands Free While Driving Law can be subject to a fine. Beginning in July 2021, drivers may also have points assessed against their Driver’s Licenses for violating the law. For more information, visit www.handsfreeindiana.com.