FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Allen County Traffic Safety held their second ‘Connect 2 Disconnect” Thursday afternoon. This campaign is in hopes to keep distracted drivers eyes on the road and off their phones.
It goes along with Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Fort Wayne, Allen County, New Haven, and Woodburn Police Departments were all in efforts for this campaign.
Indiana passed a hands-free device driving law in 2020, but since then law enforcement agencies have been issuing more the 6,000 hands-free citations. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 people have been killed because of distracted driving in 2020.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Department Officer, Bill Roberson, was asked what was the best advice he can give drivers and why do drivers continue to use their cell phones in the car.
“The best advice is to follow letter of the law. The law states that if you are not engaged in an emergency calling 9-1-1, then if you are going to use a telecommunications device, you have to do that in the hands-free matter,” Officer Roberson said. “I think it’s because we as people are accustomed to doing what we want to do and being connected to everything and everyone all the time,” said Officer Roberson.
Officer Roberson explained if talking on your cell phone was more distracting than speaking to someone who is physically in your car.
“Case by case or different circumstances could sway it either way,” said Officer Roberson. “If you’re a parent talking to a child a lot of the time, as a parent we might want eye contact with their child and if you are doing that then you are taking your eyes off the roadway,” Officer Roberson said. “Conversely if you are on your phone, and you are trying to switch between different things, holding a phone, looking to see what other messages you’ve got or who else is calling, were just dividing our attention,” said Officer Roberson. “I think that’s one of the big things that adds to those crash factors,” Officer Roberson said.
Other examples of distracted driving are eating while driving and having your pet on your lap.
Violators of the hands-free law could face a Class C infraction with fines up to $500 and have points added to their license.