INDIANA — The Indiana Department of Transportation is marking the one year anniversary of the Hands Free Driving Law going into effect.
On July 1, 2020, House Enrolled Act 1070 went into effect. The law states that a person may not hold a telecommunications device while operating a motor vehicle.
The objective of the law is to increase roadway safety in Indiana by updating Indiana’s distracted driving law to require drivers to use hands-free technology when using a telecommunications device behind the wheel.
“INDOT, along with our law enforcement partners, is working to educate and promote safety on the roads across the state. The Hands Free law is a vital tool to keep Hoosiers safe on the road by encouraging drivers to put down their phones and be fully focused on the road ahead,” said INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuiness.
What is Allowed:
• People who are driving may use their device in conjunction with hands-free or voice-operated technology.
• GPS and other map apps are allowed, provided they are being used with hands-free technology.
• Devices may be used or held to call 911 to report a true emergency.
Consequences for Violation:
• Violations can result in a Class C infraction.
• Motorists in violation can be subject to a fine.
• Starting July 1, 2021, Indiana BMV will begin adding points to records.
Indiana State Police have been vital in enforcing the new law and helping to educate the public on driving hands free.
“Since the new distracted driving law took effect last July, the Indiana State Police and its law enforcement partners, to include INDOT and ICJI have embarked on both the education and enforcement fronts to help change this dangerous driving behavior. There would be far fewer crashes, injuries and fatalities if motorists would simply put down their cell phones and concentrate on the road in front of them,” said Captain Ron Galaviz, Chief Public Information Officer for Indiana State Police.
Since the law went into effect, more than 5,400 citations and 10,500 warnings have been issued by Indiana law enforcement, according to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
“Officers are doing their part to educate motorists, but it’s going to take everyone working together to put an end to distracted driving,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “We have to create a culture in Indiana that views distracted driving as dangerous and socially unacceptable. People’s lives depend on it.
About the Indiana Hands-Free Law
In 2019, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute reported that distracted driving from mobile devices was a factor in at least 1,263 crashes and three fatal crashes. To make Hoosier roads safer, Governor Eric J. Holcomb signed the Indiana Hands-Free law to reduce distracted driving across the state. Beginning July 1, 2020, drivers are prohibited from holding a mobile device, except in emergencies, while their vehicles are moving. For more information on the new law visit www.HandsFreeIndiana.com. Hands-Free Indiana is a partnership between the Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana State Police, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Indiana Constructors Inc., Indiana Motor Truck Association and ACEC Indiana.