Local law enforcement react to hands-free driving bill

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – There are currently 21 states that have banned the use of handheld electronics while driving, with Illinois being the nearest, and a bill authored by a representative from Evansville could add Indiana to this list.

Officials with the Indiana State Police say texting and driving is currently illegal in the state, but it is difficult to enforce.

According to Sergeant Matt Ames, with ISP, the current law does not allow for officers to issue tickets unless they than can prove a phone was being used to text.

House Bill 1070 would make it illegal to use handheld electronic devices while a vehicle is in motion for any reason other than calling 911.

The bill does allow for the use of hands free or voice operated technology.

Ames says if the bill does become law he does believe it will make an impact.

“People often wonder about that, ‘Driving while distracted, what’s my rights?’, it’s not your right when you as a police officer have to go and knock on someone’s door and let them know that their family member has been killed in an accident because of driving while distracted,” Ames said.

This bill will be sent to the full House, following Monday’s vote by the House Roads and Transportation Committee.

Holli Sullivan, the representative responsible for the legislation, says there will be a statewide educational campaign if it is signed into law.

The hands-free driving bill is part of Governor Holcomb’s legislative agenda that he revealed in December.

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