Texting and Driving in Indiana

Driver is texting while driving.

According to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), distractions from mobile devices contributed to over 7,000 crashes in the state over a recent year. Texting and driving laws in Indiana aim to curb this trend by prohibiting motorists from holding mobile devices while driving. However, motorists may use these devices wirelessly.

What Is Indiana’s Hands-Free Law?

Indiana’s Hands-Free Law prohibits drivers from holding mobile devices while operating motor vehicles. The new law addresses a nationwide trend that’s harming Indiana communities. Throughout the country, distracted driving wrecks have been on the rise due to mobile device usage. Hands-free laws help reduce distraction that contributes to devastating car accidents and severe injuries.

Can I Ever Use My Cell Phone While Driving?

Driving with a mobile device in your hands is illegal in Indiana. However, the law doesn’t prohibit using mobile devices in general. You may use a mobile device wirelessly. The law allows you to access and use virtually any feature of a phone, tablet, or other device if you can do it without using your hands.

You may also use your phone to call 911 if you’re reporting a genuine emergency. In these circumstances, you may hold your phone in your hand, even if you’re driving. However, you’re safer using wireless tech so having to hold your phone to call 911 is never necessary.

Be aware that pulling over to make a call may not always be safe. Per INDOT, if you’re driving on an interstate highway, you should only pull over to the shoulder to make a call in emergency situations.

Can I Use My Phone at a Red Light?

distracted driver on his cellphoneThe law applies whenever you’re operating a motor vehicle. This includes when you’re stopped at a red light.

Using your phone at a red light may be dangerous for reasons you haven’t considered. Researchers have discovered that using a phone, even for basic tasks like listening to a call, can reduce brain activity necessary for driving by 37 percent.

Driving requires your full focus and attention. If you check your phone at a red light, you may no longer be as focused as you need to be when you start driving again.

Can a Police Officer Pull Me Over for Texting While Driving?

Indiana’s Hands-Free Law is a “primary law.” This means a police officer can pull you over merely for texting while driving. They do not need to see you committing any other traffic offense to justify pulling you over.

What Are the Penalties for Using My Cell Phone While Driving?

Using your phone behind the wheel may result in a Class C infraction in Indiana. You may have to pay a fine, and points can be added to your driving record.

You must also consider the penalties you may face if you cause a wreck because you were texting while driving. According to AAA, texting while driving may boost your odds of being involved in a wreck by 50 percent.

When a driver causes a crash in Indiana, they are liable for the injuries others sustain as a result. You might face a civil case if you cause a collision while texting. This means the true cost of using your phone behind the wheel can be much higher than a simple fine.

How Should I Avoid Texting and Driving?

Given the potential penalties associated with texting and driving in Indiana – not to mention the risk it poses to yourself, your passengers, and others on the road – it makes sense to do everything you can to resist the temptation to pull your phone out for a quick text message. Even though most of us fully understand the dangers of texting while driving, many still struggle not to check our devices when we feel like we have the chance.

You can take some steps to minimize your chances of violating the law and using your phone when you should be focused on the road. Some effective methods to consider include:

  • Leave your phone off – This is the most obvious strategy, short of leaving your phone at home. Turning your phone off and storing it in an area of your vehicle where you won’t have access to it may be the best way to guard against texting while driving.
  • Use a notification blocker – Your device may allow you to prevent it from sending notifications for a certain length of time. You could program the device so it does not send you notifications when you know you’ll be on the road. You can also download an app that stops your phone from sending notifications while you’re driving.
  • Get a Bluetooth adapter – Some motorists might consider Indiana’s Hands-Free Law unfair because their vehicles don’t have Bluetooth capability. Perhaps you would like to use your device hands-free, but you don’t think you have the option. Consider researching Bluetooth adapters – many adapters can add Bluetooth functionality to vehicles.

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Contact an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer

Obeying the law may help you guard against causing a car accident involving texting while driving. That said, you can’t control whether others obey the law. As a result, you might find yourself hurt in a texting-while-driving crash due to another motorist’s poor choices.

If this happens to you, you may be eligible for financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and other losses arising from the accident. Speak with an Indiana car accident attorney at Truitt Law Offices for more information. We’ll explain how you may pursue compensation and offer our services to help with all aspects of the claims process. Learn more by contacting us today for a free case review.

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About the Author

Phil Truitt joined Truitt Law Offices in 2018 after he earned his J.D. from Ohio Northern University Ohio Northern Pettit College of Law. However, his association with the law firm dates all the way back to childhood. His father, Richard, established the firm over 40 years ago. Growing up, Phil…