Distracted driving is a major contributor to motor vehicle accidents. Indiana legislators took action to reduce distracted driving incidents in the state by enacting a law that bans holding a cell phone while driving.
Since the law went into effect in July of 2020, motorists in the state have seen a sharp increase in citations.
Statewide increase in citations for cell phone violations
Indiana already had a law on the books banning texting while driving, but it resulted in few citations because the law was difficult to enforce. Because the new law only requires drivers to be holding a phone while driving, officers can more easily spot violators, which has resulted in just under 5,500 tickets and more than 10,600 warnings statewide in the past year. Law enforcement issued just 635 tickets for violations of the old law in the previous year.
Citations likely to continue to increase
Law enforcement has issued more warnings than tickets because the law is relatively new and they wanted to give drivers time to get used to the change. However, now that the law is a year old, the focus will shift to issuing citations.
Additional penalties for violations
In addition to the $35 to $500 fines, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced that violators will also get four points on their driver’s license. Drivers who get more than 20 points in a two-year period may get their license suspended.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that hands-free laws will reduce motor vehicle accident deaths by 20% in the first two years.