Handheld phone ban begins Wednesday

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A new Indiana law effective Wednesday bans the use of handheld phones while driving.

Sen. Jon Ford said the law provides a solution to what local legislators called a growing problem.

“Going into session, I believe 22 other states  had passed similar legislation,” he noted. “So we really reviewed what they did and talked to legislators in their states. I think we came up with a pretty good platform to try and do away with distracted driving.”

According to Indiana State Police, 3,285 fatal accidents due to distracted driving occurred in 2018.

ISP Sgt. Matt Ames said these accidents can be avoided by making smart choices.

“When you have to go and knock on a loved ones door and advise them that their loved one has been killed in an accident involving distracted driving,” he said, “and knowing when you’re talking to them and trying to relay that information to them that that’s an accident that was 100 percent preventable that could’ve not occurred at all.”

Drivers caught with a cell phone in hand while driving will receive a citation, and could even face license penalties starting in 2021.

Sen. Ford said legislators just want people to keep their eyes on the road.

“There’s going to be some education done. But I think people need to understand that starting July 1, look for those hands free alternatives,” Ford said. ‘You know the holders for your cell phones, that can make it hands free, using Bluetooth on your car, things like that are going to be what people need to start moving towards.”

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