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Hendricks County goes hands-free today under new state driving law

Hendricks County goes hands-free today under new state driving law

By Lindsay Doty

Chatting away and holding your cell phone while driving is now illegal in Indiana. Starting today (July 1),  Indiana’s hands-free driving law will go into effect.

Signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb this year after passing in the Indiana House and Indiana Senate, the law prohibits drivers from holding mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, in their hands while driving, unless it is being used to call 911 in an emergency.

The new law will allow cellphone use only with hands-free or voice-operated technology. Drivers can still use phone maps while driving, as long as the device is also hands-free.

The law is aimed at reducing distracted driving and improving safety on the roads throughout Indiana and Hendricks County.

“We all go so fast with our quick-paced lives and technology, so hopefully driving will be safer because you are more focused on the road,” said Hendricks County Sheriff Brett Clark.

The new law adds to the state’s existing texting ban. Violators can be ticketed up to $500 and get points added to their driving records. He says the ticket amount will be up to the individual courts.

“I think at first there will be a warning,” said Clark.

He says his department is still dealing with COVID-19 precautions like keeping the jail clean and officers have not been tough on traffic violations since the pandemic began.

He hopes as drivers become educated about the new law they will focus more on the road, not devices.

“Hopefully, it will lead to less distracting driving and safer driving.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, states that have passed hands-free driving laws have seen a nearly 20 percent decrease in traffic deaths in the two years after passing the law.

Indiana’s hands-free driving law went into effect July 1. (Photo by Eric Pritchett)

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