Hands-Free Driving Bill Eases Farther Down Legislative Highway

Feb 18, 2020

Legislation to ban handheld cell phone use while driving appears headed to passage after a Senate committee easily approved the measure.
Credit Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Legislation to ban handheld cell phone use while driving appears headed to passage after a Senate committee easily approved the measure.

That’s even as some lawmakers seemed to lower expectations Tuesday about the bill’s potential effectiveness.

Like a House committee earlier this session, a Senate committee heard hours of testimony supporting the hands-free driving bill, much of it from family members and victims of distracted driving.

But some lawmakers just aren’t sold. That includes Sen. Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville).

“We have a law against texting. It didn’t work; people didn’t stop doing it. We’re going to have another law now against handheld use. They’re not going to stop," Boots says. "I just don’t understand what it’s going to take to get people to understand distracted driving kills them and their friends.”

But Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council's Chris Daniels likens the bill to speed limits. They don’t stop everyone from speeding – but they do change driving habits.

“Giving officers the tools and the ability to enforce those laws to go after the most dangerous things that we’re seeing,” Daniels says.

The bill passed the committee 8 to 1.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.