House Bill 1070 bans distracted driving

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind., (WTWO/WAWV)– House Bill 1070 will prohibit the use of electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.

The bill passed the committee with a 13-0 vote.

Sgt. Matt Ames, Indiana State Police Public Information Officer, said the current law makes it difficult to identify distracted drivers.

“Right now the texting and driving law is somewhat very difficult for us to enforce. However with it being hands-free, if we see someone that has a cell phone in their hand or an electronic device, automatically we can stop that vehicle and issue a citation for that,” said Ames.

Ames said the consequences that come with driving while distracted have a high price.

“There were 48 fatalities last year in the state of Indiana that contributed to driving while distracted. That’s 48 deaths that were uncalled for, if people just weren’t distracted while driving,” Ames said.

According to Indiana State Police, you are 23 times more likely to crash when driving while distracted.

Garrett Patton, a student at Indiana State University, said he’s almost suffered the consequences of driving while distracted.

“I’ve found that whenever i get a text message sometimes, I’ll look down. I have had close calls where I look back up at the road and there’s a car that has popped up out of nowhere and I’ve had to slam on my brakes. I’ve had that gut wrenching feeling of oh my gosh,” said Patton.

Patton said he believes the feeling of needing to respond right away contributes to the problem.

“A lot of the time we act like it’s important and we create this sense of urgency. There’s really no excuse. I think everybody that you love, that you are texting would much rather have you get to your location successfully and safe,” Patton said.

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