Indiana Lawmakers Looking at Georgia Law in Drafting Hands-Free Legislation
INDIANA – According to an online news report posted to wndu.com, Indiana lawmakers are looking at a Georgia law in drafting hands-free legislation for their state. Georgia has seen success with its Hands-Free law, and Indiana has noticed. Lawmakers are now working on passing an anti-distracted driving bill with similar language.*
In January, Indiana legislators introduced a bill that would ban people from holding phones or other communication devices while driving. The state currently has a law that prohibits texting while driving, but drivers can still technically do a lot of other distracting things on their phones, like scrolling social media and reading emails.
“People take the word ‘texting’ literally,” said Jennifer Smith, CEO of Stopdistractions.org. “And so you’ll see people saying, ‘Oh, well, I wasn’t texting.’ But they’re on Instagram the whole time they drive. Or they’re Face Timing each other. They’re watching Netflix and YouTube, playing games.”
Lawmakers in Indiana want no ambiguity in the law when it comes to distracted driving. They want drivers to simply put down their phones and focus on driving. In Georgia, a law went into effect last summer that requires drivers to use hands-free and single-touch technology if they want to use electronic devices in their vehicles. Drivers cannot hold their phones at all, unless they are legally parked or are making a 911 call.
“Drivers [in Georgia] were automatically typing and swiping 22 percent less,” Smith said of the reaction to the Hands-Free Georgia Act. “And that has continued to trend downward. The state of Georgia also saw a 3.4 percent decrease in their fatalities after rising 34 percent since 2014. And their insurance crash claims in frequency and severity have also started to trend downward.”
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