Today I was reading posts about a kid playing on the road with their scooter in downtown Fishers. More than just playing, the young teenager seemed to be intentionally causing trouble with traffic. Had drivers not been paying attention, the child could have been hurt or an accident could have happened.
The issue of distracted driving is not new. What is new is that starting July 1st, Fishers along with the rest of Indiana will be joining other states such as Illinois with a distracted driving law. What this means is that starting January 1st, if you are holding your cell phone while driving, you can be pulled over and ticketed.
As a part of House Enrollment Act 1070, it has become illegal to drive a motorized vehicle while using a handheld cell phone. The following is the summary of the bill available on the Indiana General Assembly site:
Distracted driving. Provides that, except in certain circumstances, a person may not hold or use a telecommunications device while operating a moving motor vehicle.
The bill does allow for devices to be used with hands free or voice operated technology. Additionally, you can use a phone to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency.
If you get pulled over for this, it is important to know that without your consent, a police officer cannot confiscate your device to determine if you were violating this law. In fact, they can’t confiscate your phone and retain it either.
Because this is a new law, if you get ticketed before July 1, 2020 you may not be assessed points against your license.
The point of this law is to reduce the level of distracted driving. While many complain that this doesn’t alleviate the people putting on make-up, eating their lunch, or otherwise zoned out and not focusing, it does push to reduce one of the most common distractions. The benefit will be that if kids are playing in the streets in downtown Fishers, you are more likely to notice them.
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