The Indiana House endorsed a proposal last week on Wednesday which would prohibit drivers from using handheld cellphones. Supporters of the proposal say it is aimed at combating distracted driving.
House members voted 86-10 in support of the bill that only allows cellphone use with hands-free or voice-operated technology, unless there is an emergency. The bill would expand the state’s present ban on texting while driving that officials have stated is not enforceable and doesn’t include actions such as emailing or viewing videos.
Twenty-one other states currently have similar bans. Supporters compared it to the adoption of seat belt laws and stated that while the enforcement of a cellphone ban might be difficult it nonetheless sends a message about what is acceptable.
“You can observe more heads looking down at their phones than you can see looking at the road ahead of them,” stated Republican Rep. Holli Sullivan of Evansville, the bill’s sponsor.
Distracted driving was a relevant factor in at least 860 injury crashes and 48 crashes with deaths throughout Indiana in 2019, according to state police.
The proposal has Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s support and will now go to the Senate for consideration. Violation of the bill would involve a maximum fine of $500.