State Police say ban is almost impossible to enforce in its current form
The issue of texting while driving is gaining renewed focus in Indiana after State Police announced that patrol cars would carry decals saying “DRIVE NOW TXT L8R,” according to WDRB. The campaign is meant to remind Hoosiers to put away their cellphones while driving, but as Fox 59 reports, many police officers are saying that a better way of getting people to stop texting while driving would be by making current laws more enforceable.
Texting and driving ban unenforceable
Many police officers are calling attention to Indiana’s texting while driving ban. The ban was passed into law three years ago, but since then very few drivers have actually been ticketed for texting and driving. Last year, police issued just 186 citations for violations of the ban. In neighboring Illinois, which has much stricter texting and driving laws, citations during the same time period were over 6,700.
According to critics of the law, including many police officers, the current ban is almost completely unenforceable. The law specifically bans the sending of emails and text messages while driving; however, it does not make other cellphone uses, such as GPS services, social media, and other apps, illegal. As such, when a police officer pulls over a driver who is suspected of texting while driving, that driver can simply claim that he or she was using the mobile device for a perfectly legal function. Since police officers cannot search the device themselves, they have to rely on the driver’s honesty.
Responding to the danger
Authorities are currently divided on how to respond to the issue of texting while driving. Recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, however, are showing just how dangerous texting and driving is. The Department says that cellphone use is a factor in 1.6 million crashes every year, leading to half a million injuries and over 6,000 deaths.
While some people have advocated for a complete cellphone ban, the prospect of such a ban coming into law in Indiana seems unrealistic in the immediate future. There currently does not appear to be much political will for making a texting and driving ban more enforceable. Instead, police and safety advocates are focusing on public education and trying to remind Hoosiers to stay off their cellphones while behind the wheel.
Distracted driving accidents
While the debate over texting and driving continues, victims of distracted drivers know better than anyone of how dangerous texting can be when driving. Anybody who has been injured because of a distracted driver should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. By contacting an experienced attorney, clients will get the help they need when trying to hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions.