TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Indiana’s hand-free driving law went into effect July 2020. It bans the use of cellphones while driving.
Indiana officers spent a year educating motorists about the law and its consequences. Now one year later, drivers could face harsher penalties, if they’re caught violating the law.
Sgt. Matt Ames, Public Information Officer for Indiana State Police, said over 5,000 tickets and 10,500 warnings were issued in the first year of the new law being enforced.
“People need to be more responsible for themselves. They need to know ‘Hey there are consequences if I’m out here driving and using my cellphone and driving while distracted. Guess what they’re not just going to issue me a ticket or written warning,” he explained.
Those caught in violation could be fined up to $500 and receive four points on their license. If drivers receive 20 points over a two-year time frame, they risk having their license suspended.
“Now you’re going to be assessed points to your drivers license. As those points continue to accrue, things are going to happen. A possible license suspension, you’re insurance rates are going to go up, and you’ll be paying a fine to the local clerks office. “
In 2019, over 3,000 people died as a result of distracted driving in the United States. Sgt. Ames said lawmakers and police hope this will create a safer environment for those out on the road.
“Distracted driving is responsible for 14 percent of all fatalities here in the United States every year. Remember you’re out here sharing the roadways with the public and you need to responsible for yourself and everyone else driving out on the roadway is counting on you to not be driving while distracted. “
Lawmakers have also increased penalties for drivers who violate the speed limit in school and construction zones. Violators could receive up to 8 points on their license.