Almost all states within the United States have laws that limit drivers on cellphone use while behind the wheel. While some states impose strict no texting and talking laws, others have no texting or just no usage if you are under a specific age. In the state of Indiana, the laws are slightly more relaxed than others. In other words, before you can assess if the bans really prevent auto accidents, you must first know how Indiana handles such cellphone use.
Texting and Driving Laws in Indiana
Cellphone use while driving. There is no prohibition on using a cellphone while driving unless you are a novice driver – someone under the age of 18. If you are over 18, you can use a cellphone (handheld or hands-free). Texting and driving. All drivers are prohibited from texting and driving in the state of Indiana unless it is to report an emergency. Bus drivers and cellphone use. All bus drivers are prohibited from talking and texting while operating a bus.
The Effects of the Ban on Driver Behavior
Crash statistics have not yet truly caught up to prove whether or not a ban actually reduces the number of accidents in the state of Indiana. But, the effect of these bans has been seen on driver behavior. It has been shown that the use of handheld cellphones has reduced since the bans have been put in place – including states where handheld use is still allowed. Texting brings different results. This is because texting is not as common as talking while driving. In 2011, a study noted that drivers stopping at an intersection were still likely to pick up their phone to read and/or send a text message despite bans. Also, bans do not seem to have an effect on texting while driving in general. That means people still choose to text and drive despite the bans or penalties if they are caught.
Are the Penalties Too Lenient?
While it is illegal to text and drive, the issue may be that the penalties are not harsh enough to deter people from using their phones while on the road. In Indiana, your first offense results in a traffic citation and points against your driver’s license. If, however, you cause an accident while driving and texting, you could face additional charges and also civil penalties.
How These Bans Affect Insurance Claims
While it is true that the number of accidents has not necessarily been impacted, the number of insurance claims have. Several studies have shown that when a driver is injured or their car is damaged in a collision, they will typically make an insurance claim. However, fewer claims have been made since the texting/talking bans have been issued – especially in states like California.
Were You Injured by a Distracted Driver? You Have Options
While there are no bans on talking while driving, distracted driving is considered negligent driving. Therefore, a driver talking on their phone that causes a serious auto accident is still liable for any damages they may case. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, contact an Indianapolis personal injury attorney immediately. The team at Jacobs Law, LLC has been representing injured parties for years and we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your lost wages, medical costs and even pain and suffering. Schedule a free consultation today at 317-520-9283 or fill out an online contact form with your legal questions.