On March 10, 2020 it was reported that the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana Senate both passed “House Bill 1070”, which means the bill is now headed to Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk where it is expected to be signed into law. This bill was heavily supported in the House (81-11) and Senate (49-1), and Governor Holcomb has made it known that passing a more rigid cell phone law was a primary focus of his.
After two amendments in the House of Representatives, the final language of this bill now states, “A person may not hold or use a telecommunications device in the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle.” However, the bill does allow these devices to be used in conjunction with hands free or voice operated technology, or if used to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency.” Unlike the current Indiana cell phone restriction that prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using cell phones while driving, this bill will apply to all drivers (of all ages).
One question that is already being asked is, “Does this mean phones can no longer be used as GPS devices?” Since this law allows phones to be used in hands-free applications, simply having GPS pulled-up on a phone while driving would not be a violation. However, setting coordinates or otherwise adjusting settings while the vehicle is in motion would be a violation.
Enforcement of this law (if signed by the Governor) is expected to take effect in July 2020, but points will not be added to driving records until July 2021.
-Kevin Beswick, President of RMS Safety