New restrictions could be put on Hoosier drivers

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TERRE HAUTE Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Wednesday, a bill restricting the use of handheld devices while operating a car moved a little closer to becoming law.

The Distracted Driving bill now waits on Governor Eric Holcomb’s signature.

Distracted driving killed over 3,000 people in 2018, according to Indiana State Police Sergeant Matt Ames. He said, with the new bill law enforcement is hopeful that number will go down.

“There’s three types of distracted driving, your hands off the steering wheel, taking your eyes off the roadway, and then there’s cognitive, where you’re distracted and you’re thinking about other matters.”

Ames adds, texting is the worst, and the most deadly because it combines all three.

Students from Indiana State University spoke out on the matter, and one even admitted to occasionally giving in to the temptation of texting while driving.

Currently the fine for texting and driving is $140, Ames said, and the citation for the new law would be similar.

Jamie Landers said she will make the move to bluetooth, not only because it’s safer, but because it will save her money.

“With our generation, money is tight right now because a lot of us are in college, and that’s a big motivator for me. If I would have to spend more money because of my phone I would probably stop.”

Another frequent traveler, Gabe Rolfes, said driving distracted isn’t worth the risk of getting into an accident.

“If you’re on a phone call and you’re looking around, you could get caught up in the conversation and you’re losing focus on the road,” Rolfes said.

The current law in Indiana focuses on texting and driving, which Ames said can be difficult to prove, but the new law would include all handheld devices, making it easier for authorities to cite.

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