CNHI Statehouse Reporter
INDIANAPOLIS – For the past year, Indiana’s law enforcement has issued nearly 16,000 warnings and citations related to Indiana’s hands-free driving law, aiming to encourage Hoosier motorists to drive safely without a cellphone distraction.
But starting Thursday, Aug. 5, drivers using their phones will see points added to their licenses for each violation, potentially adding up enough points to suspend licenses.
“The intent of these changes is to keep Indiana roads safer,” Peter Lacy, the commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles said.
Additionally, Hoosiers speeding through school or work zones will see enhanced penalties and points on their licenses following a meeting of the points committee, which determines the penalties for driving infractions.
Points stay on a driver license for up to two years and 20 points can result in a suspension, according to the BMV.
With a number of schools returning to in-person classes, Indiana State Police Chief Public Information Officer Capt. Ron Galaviz said commuters should plan for school buses and increased school zone traffic. To encourage Hoosiers to drive safely, law enforcement will start “high visibility patrols” under the Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) program.
“This past spring, the departments that participated in the course of the campaign issued more than 5,600 tickets (and) 1,700 warnings,” Galaviz said. “Of those, 251 were for (school bus) stop arm violations, 309 for texting and – an alarming amount – 1,900 for speeding.”
Excessive speed and reckless driving in work zones killed 600 people in the last year, including six in Indiana. With over 1,300 Department of Transportation construction projects, work zone injuries and deaths are a concern for Joe McGuinness, the department commissioner.
“We are protecting (workers) as best we possibly can but there are still accidents,” McGuinness said. “In the end, it takes all of us collectively to make our roadways safer.”
This article was shared with permission from Hoosier State Press Association.