Keep Your Eyes on the Road and Your Hands Upon the Wheel
Indiana just got serious about distracted driving, and Attorneys Anthony Benitez and Matt Kroes are here to make sure you understand how the law has changed and what you need to do.
Hello everyone. This is Attorney Benitez with Marc Lopez Law Firm.
And Attorney Matt Kroes, Marc Lopez Law Firm.
Hey, today we wanna talk to you guys about the new law that just came into place in Indiana, As of July 1, 2020, you cannot operate a vehicle while holding a cell phone in your hand.
Matt, is this a new law or . . . ?
This actually is a new interpretation of a law that we’ve already had. It’s always been illegal to text and drive in the State of Indiana. Now the problem with that is, if a cop pulled somebody over, it was very easy for the driver to say, Hey, I was using GPS, or, Hey, I was making a phone call, but using speaker phone, or, Hey, I was just holding it—wasn’t even using it.
This law makes it unequivocally clear—if you’re driving a vehicle and you’re holding a cell phone in your hand, you are in violation of this statute.
Attorney Benitez, what happens if you violate this statute?
If you violate this statute, it’s a Class C infraction, with a maximum penalty of $500.
But Matt, is there something else? How else could this affect your license?
Well, from now until next July, the only thing that will happen if you violate this is gonna be a fine and court costs, as Attorney Benitez has said. You’re looking at up to a $500 fine on this.
Now starting next July, it’s actually gonna be a pointable offense on your driver’s license. So it’s gonna qualify as four points on your driver’s license starting next July. As you know, as you accumulate points, the BMV can come in and actually suspend your driver’s license based on how many points you have over a given period of time.
Attorney Benitez, are there gonna be any kind of exceptions for this? I mean, certainly there has to be.
Yeah, the main exception is if it’s an emergency, and you’re trying to call for help. You can obviously use your cell phone. If you see a crime happening, you want to get your cell phone out and call.
Those are the main exceptions in this, but it’s also very important, Matt—somebody who is driving with their phone—what can they do?
What can they do if they want to take a phone call, right? Because this law doesn’t mean that they can’t take a phone call. What does the law mean?
Basically, Indiana’s going hands-free. And what you just did is exactly what you can do—you can take your cell phone, and you can put it down. You can use the Bluetooth on your car, and you can still take phone calls, text messages through any kind of Siri-type app or any kind of Bluetooth.
If your car’s a little bit older, there are many different devices that you can actually purchase, including a single headset that actually has things you can hang on your visor that turn your visor into a Bluetooth speaker.
Ultimately, what the State of Indiana’s trying to do here is cut back on distracted driving and maybe have one or two less accidents. Just trying to make everybody a little bit safer on the road.
With that being said, if you ever find yourself in violation of this statute, we can definitely help you out. Give us a call, at 317-632-3642, and remember—always plead the 5th!