Additional punishment added for violators of Indiana's Hands-Free Driving law

Indiana State Police hosted a special news conference Thursday to talk about the new punishment for drivers.

Posted: Jul 29, 2021 4:35 PM
Updated: Jul 29, 2021 5:19 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) — Starting Thursday, you could put your license in jeopardy by violating the state's Hands Free Driving law.

Indiana State Police hosted a special news conference to talk about the new punishment for drivers.

"Traveling Indiana roads is a shared endeavor that is only made safer when we are aware of the law and making good decisions behind the wheel," said Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Peter Lacy.

That's exactly what lawmakers intended when they passed the law.

It makes it illegal for drivers to hold mobile devices while driving and has been in effect for a little more than a year.

"It's a very prevalent offense," said Indiana State Police Captain Ron Galaviz. "It's a behavior that needs to be changed and needs to be curbed."

Galaviz said 16,000 citations were given to drivers caught violating the law since it went into effect.

"That means that law enforcement had 16,000 opportunities to have a conversation with the motoring public about education opportunities on how to best comply with this new law," Galaviz explained.

Now, drivers are risking more than paying a fine if they break the law.

"It [the law] gave a one year period where there was only a fine and it said that at the end of the first year the points committee needed to make a recommendation," Lacy explained.

Violators of the law will get four points added to their license in addition to a fine, and in Indiana, 10 points means the suspension of your license. Those points stay on your record for three years.

"I think people need to understand and know that this law is being enforced very vigorously," Galaviz added.

He said the goal is to encourage more people to take the law seriously.

"In the end it's not about writing tickets," said Galaviz. "It's about saving lives and changing the behaviors that we're seeing.

The state also created new point systems for school and work zones, and those range from four to eight points depending on speed.

In the past, the points were based on speed only and not the specific area where the speeding happened.

The new point system also starts Thursday.

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