INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is well on its way to becoming the latest state to strengthen its distracted driving laws by making it illegal statewide for a driver to hold a handheld communications device while operating a moving motor vehicle, according to the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA).
Legislation (HB 1070) was approved by the Legislature today and will be sent to Gov. Holcomb, who has already stated that addressing distracted driving was a priority. The bill provides that a person may not hold or use a telecommunications device in the driver's seat of a motor vehicle while the motor vehicle is in motion unless the device is used in conjunction with hands free or voice operated technology or used to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency.
“This is a victory for road safety because distracted drivers pose a very real risk to themselves, their passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and everyone else on the road,” said Hilary Segura, assistant vice president and counsel, state government relations for APCIA. “The insurance industry supports legislation that helps to improve safety and saves lives. We believe that tougher distracted driving laws will help change dangerous driver behaviors by encouraging people to think twice about picking up the phone while driving.”
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already ban the use of handheld devices while driving. So far this year, the Indiana and Virginia Legislatures have sent hands free bills to their respective governors.