Distracted driving is anything that takes the driver’s attention from the road, such as cellphone use. When an Indiana driver takes their eyes off the road for five seconds, they can cover a football field driving 55 mph. The advancement in technology has prompted many states to enact distracted driving laws.
Distracted driving overview
One study found that 90% of drivers know the risks of sending messages while driving but use their mobile phones anyway. Other stats report that 800,000 drivers are using their cellphones while driving at any time during the day. Another study reports that there are 220 million wireless subscribers in the United States with up to 80% using their phones while driving.
While most laws focus on mobile devices, drivers can also be distracted by grooming, eating or playing with radios. These activities aren’t usually illegal, but they are 1.6 times more likely to cause motor vehicle accidents.
Indiana cellphone and driving laws
Indiana became the 32nd state to pass laws on texting and driving, but the laws were too vague and unenforceable. In 2020, Indiana passed new laws that prohibit drivers using mobile devices, even at red lights, except for reporting emergencies. The law prohibits drivers under 21 from using any mobile or communication devices, including hands-free, except for emergencies.
Commercial drivers are banned from using mobile devices while the vehicle is in motion, unless they start and end calls with one button. While the laws forbid texting and driving, a driver still may view videos on their smartphones. Indiana also follows primary law, which means a driver can get ticketed if an officer sees them using mobile devices and driving. The fines may not seem like much, but it adds points to the license and increases insurance rates.
Drivers and passengers who injured by distracted driving can sue at-fault parties for damages. If the liable driver was using their cellphone at the time of the crash, phone records may be able to show proof that they caused the accident by being distracted.