State to enforce new distracted driving law starting July 1

Law enforcement agencies in Indiana will begin enforcing a new distracted driving law statewide in just a few more weeks.

Starting July 1, 2020, a new law will go into effect that will prohibit the driver of a motor vehicle from holding or operating a cell phone or other similar electronic devices while the vehicle is in motion.

In addition to phones, the law applies to personal digital assistants, pagers, or other text messaging devices.

Drivers who are operating a commercial vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds are allowed to use a CB radio under the new law.

Other exemptions to the law include the use of hands-free or voice operated technology. Additionally, pressing a button to activate a device will not be considered a violation.

Drivers are also permitted to call 911 while their vehicle is in motion in an emergency.

According to Indiana State Police, “The use of a cell phone while driving increases your chance of getting into a crash by 400%. In other states with a similar law already in effect, there has been a 15% decrease in the number of traffic fatalities. If the same stats hold true for Indiana, this law could save approximately 130 lives on Indiana roadways each year.”

Federal law already restricts the use of handheld devices for commercial vehicle drivers. Fines for violating these rules are up to $2,750 for drivers and up to $11,000 for companies that allow or require drivers to use a hand-held communications device while driving.