Indiana Goes Hands-Free Beginning In July
As of July 1, 2020, Indiana law mandates hands-free use of all telecommunication devices for drivers operating motor vehicles on state roads and highways.
Indiana’s Hands-Free Law Takes Effect
Indiana’s new Hands-Free Law prohibits the use of hand-held telecommunication devices such as cell phones and tablets while driving, unless used in conjunction with hands-free technology. Such technology includes built-in vehicle Bluetooth equipment, added Bluetooth adapters, and dashboard or vent mounts. Indiana’s hands-free law takes effect on July 1, 2020, and applies to all drivers operating vehicles on Indiana roads.
Although Indiana implemented a “no texting while driving law” in 2011, law enforcement has had difficulty enforcing it. Over the years, distracted driving accidents have continued to rise throughout the state. Many personal injury cases handled by Indiana accident lawyers are the result of distracted drivers on cell phones who are not paying attention to the road. At speeds of 55 mph or greater, taking an eye off the road for just five seconds can result in a car crash where victims suffer severe physical and cognitive injuries, permanent disabilities, and death.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), hands-free driving laws prevent distracted driving accidents. In states that have passed hands-free driving laws, accident statistics show a 20 percent drop in traffic deaths within the first two years after the law takes effect. Independent crash studies show that crash risks are two to six times higher among drivers talking or texting on a cell phone or hand-held communications device while driving. Hands-free technology in motor vehicles allows drivers to make calls and perform a variety of other tasks while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Under Indiana’s new hands-free driving law, drivers are prohibited from holding hand-held communications devices while driving, unless they are making an emergency 911 call. Drivers will be permitted to use earpieces, speakerphones, and GPS navigation apps, as long as they use hands-free interfaces while vehicles are moving. Drivers without hands-free technology must pull off the road to make a call or send a text/email on a hand-held device.
Beginning July 1, 2020, all drivers will be expected to follow the hands-free law or receive fines up to $500. However, the BMV will not add points to a driver’s license for the violation until July 1, 2021, giving drivers time to update their vehicles with voice-operated Bluetooth technology or hands-free adapters.