“Put the cell phone down!” New distracted driving law to go in effect July 1st

Indiana is joining over 20 other states in the nation in having a hands-free law.

House Bill 1070 officially goes into effect on Wednesday, July 1st. So what does that mean for Hoosier drivers?

The law prohibits motorists from using, and even holding a cell phone while driving a motor vehicle; unless they are using hands-free technology such as a cradle or Bluetooth system, or need to call 911.

But that is not all. Indiana State Police Jasper Post PIO, Sergeant David Henderson, tells us why and explains why it’s crucial to inform the public now.

“This law not only pertains to cell phones with any other electronic devices that are in a car. What we’re trying to do is educate the public first by putting this information out. We’re going to have our Troopers start stopping people if they’re obviously on their phone and are weaving in and out of lanes, stopping or starting to fast, or tailgating. Those would be the reasons why we stop people at first. Not just for the hands-free law, but to make the road safer,” Sergeant Henderson says.

Henderson says there will be a grace period right after the law goes into effect.

“If you do get stopped, then the trooper will come up talk to you and educate you on the law. And we’re going to kind of give it a grace period at first,” he says.

Henderson tells us that he doesn’t know how long this grace period will last.

All state troopers are trained and are ready to enforce this new law. Henderson says that they always meet with the troopers to make sure they are ready before a new law goes into effect.

“Every year when new laws come into effect in May and June, we go over them with our Troopers. So all the Troopers have been educated on what is and what isn’t the law, and how it affects our job. And they are behind it 100%,” he says.

Indiana currently has a ban on texting while driving. However, law enforcement agencies around the state say it has been difficult to enforce.

Henderson says that he hopes this new law will make the roads a safer place for everyone.

“Your chance to be an accident goes up approximately four hundred percent if your texting and driving or are being distracted while you’re driving. So we want to keep the roadways for Indiana safer for the general public,” Sergeant Henderson says.

For more information about the law, visit iga.in.gov.

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