Governor Eric Holcomb issued a reminder this week that a new law takes effect on Wednesday that prohibits drivers from holding mobile devices in their hands while driving.
Once the Hands Free While Driving Law takes effect, drivers can not use mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets, while driving, except to call for emergency services.
Talking or texting on a cellphone is a form of distracted driving and it's risky, highway safety officials warn.
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Perrine says it's all about limiting crashes caused by distracted driving. "So you can't have your finger on your phone and be texting or sending an email". The National Safety Council reports that cellphone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. In looking down to send or read a text while driving, a driver takes his eyes off the road for an average of nearly 5 seconds. "If you drive 55 miles per hour, you will travel the length of a football field in that same period".
The legislature's intent behind the new law is to save lives and reduce crashes. Touching a phone to, for example, check the weather or look at a photo while driving is not allowed.
The law does permit the use of voice-operated or hands-free technology such as speakerphone, Bluetooth or headset. "You can still use your phone for Global Positioning System, as long as you're not holding your phone".
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Sigler said the preference would be that phones be placed in do-not-disturb mode while driving, but there are plenty of hand-free options available. Violations will not, however, result in points toward a driver's license suspension until after July 2021. I encourage everyone in our community to do their best to comply with the new rules and help keep our streets safe.
Perrine understands that this new law will take some time to get used to - even for police officers.
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