Hands-free law ‘changing behaviors’ after 6 months on the books

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It has been six months since Indiana’s ban on using telecommunication devices while operating a motor vehicle. The law went into effect July 1st.

Since then, Indiana State Police said they’ve written 138 tickets across the state. However, they’ve written 1,331 warnings. That’s about a 10% ratio of tickets to warnings.

ISP Sergeant Brian Walker said the number of tickets and warnings given coincides with their intent to educate drivers initially, instead of just writing tickets.

‘In order to gain that voluntary compliance, number one, first people have to know the law and understand it. So just by putting a law into effect on July 1st and going out and writing tickets, that might make people a little bit more upset with it, with our enforcement efforts, rather than if we were to educate them into making that law into a little bit more effective as we go along,” said Sgt. Walker.

Back when the law first went into effect, Sgt. Walker stated this law being enacted is “because of the distracted driving issues that we’re dealing with not only in Indiana, but around the country.”

The law is an amendment to the current ban of texting and driving.

“[The distraction] of using your cell phone, your telecommunications device, is addictive for many people. And it’s not something, I think that just having that law on July 1st is going to change people’s behaviors,” said Sgt. Brian Walker.

Sgt. Walker says he expects more people to change their behaviors as enforcement ramps up.

The Fort Wayne Police Department has also been writing tickets for the new law. In the past six months they’ve written 62 tickets for violations of the hands free law.

That number is nearly half of what ISP wrote for the entire, comparatively.

Police continue to encourage drivers to put the phone away and use hands free technology. Or, you could face a citation and up to a $500 fine.

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