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Indiana drivers holding cellphones face license penalties

Indiana motorists caught using handheld cellphones while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle now face increased penalties for breaking state law.

Posted: Jul 31, 2021 5:20 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana motorists caught using handheld cellphones while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle now face increased penalties for breaking state law.

A law banning cellphone use took effect in July 2020 to combat distracted driving. That law allowed tickets of up to $500 against violators but delayed by a year any state Bureau of Motor Vehicles points toward a driver’s license suspension.

Violations will now result in four points against a driver’s license, BMV officials said. License suspensions start once a driver has accumulated 20 points within a two-year period.

Texting and other handheld cellphone use is a frequent cause of crashes, officials said. State law allows cellphone use by drivers only with hands-free or voice-operated technology, except in emergencies.

Drivers also face additional points for speeding in school or construction zones. Those violations will now result in four to eight points against a license, depending on how fast the driver was going.

“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,” Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Peter Lacy said during a Thursday news conference.

Police officers across Indiana issued nearly 5,500 tickets and about 10,500 warnings during the first year of the handheld cellphone ban, state officials said.

State Police Capt. Ron Galaviz said many officers have tried to educate drivers about the new law but will from now on be issuing more tickets than warnings.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 934586

Reported Deaths: 15157
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1272871967
Lake629921090
Allen53252749
Hamilton43603446
St. Joseph41729586
Elkhart33340488
Vanderburgh30183442
Tippecanoe26738247
Johnson23466416
Hendricks22102340
Porter21573342
Clark17306227
Madison17213380
Vigo15991274
Monroe14404190
LaPorte14238237
Delaware13977219
Howard13772267
Kosciusko11310135
Hancock10749161
Warrick10616176
Bartholomew10461167
Floyd10375203
Wayne9848219
Grant9017200
Morgan8813159
Boone8351109
Dubois7647123
Henry7536129
Dearborn751787
Noble7369101
Marshall7314128
Cass7140117
Lawrence6913152
Shelby6526108
Jackson651884
Gibson6101106
Harrison601185
Huntington596192
Montgomery5756102
DeKalb568591
Knox5398104
Miami536684
Putnam532067
Clinton530965
Whitley520951
Steuben492867
Wabash480592
Jasper475561
Jefferson466291
Ripley451175
Adams441765
Daviess4105107
Scott400764
White388757
Clay387156
Greene385689
Decatur383496
Wells381683
Fayette371976
Posey358041
Jennings350356
Washington329747
LaGrange318775
Spencer315535
Fountain312354
Randolph309487
Sullivan304047
Owen282461
Starke276662
Orange274459
Fulton274253
Jay253034
Perry249352
Carroll242427
Franklin236737
Vermillion231450
Rush231330
Parke217720
Tipton208355
Pike204538
Blackford167434
Pulaski161751
Crawford144818
Newton142044
Benton141616
Brown133346
Martin127716
Switzerland124810
Warren114116
Union95511
Ohio78111
Unassigned0473

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