distracted driver laws

Distracted driving is a significant threat to Indiana’s drivers. 

Because of this, Indiana’s legislators have passed a number of laws to reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road. 

The Problem of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving causes unthinkable numbers of injuries and deaths every year. 

Records from 2019 show that 3,000 people in the U.S. died from distracted driving that year. Of those 3,000 deaths, 39 were in Indiana. 

Even though Indiana has a relatively low distracted driving accident rate, every death or injury from a distracted driving crash could have been prevented. That makes them especially tragic. 

Distracted driving includes any of the following behaviors while driving:

  • Texting 
  • Dialing a phone 
  • Talking on a phone 
  • Using a GPS 
  • Eating or drinking 
  • Grooming 
  • Being distracted by interacting with passengers 
  • Taking your eyes off the road to pay attention to something outside of the car, other than the road and traffic

Indiana’s Distracted Driving Categories

The Indiana Department of Labor divides distracted driving into three categories: 

  1. Cognitive distraction (taking your mind off the road)
  2. Visual distraction (taking your eyes off the road)
  3. Manual distraction (taking your hands off the wheel)

Any of these distractions can cause an accident. 

Indiana’s Hands-Free Driving Law

In 2020, Indiana passed the hands-free driving law. It governs how people can use cell phones and other mobile devices while driving. That includes smartphones, smart watches, tablets, and any other electronic device. 

Texting and driving in Indiana has been illegal since 2011, but the new hands-free law states that drivers cannot use any handheld devices while driving. If you are behind the wheel, you are not allowed to read or send texts, read or reply to emails, make or answer calls while holding the phone, or look up directions while holding the phone.  

The only option Indiana’s drivers have is to use the Bluetooth capabilities of their phones and cars. Drivers are permitted to enter directions into a GPS before driving, but after they are behind the wheel, they cannot make changes or touch their phone to use it. 

Penalties for Distracted Driving

Indiana has enacted a series of penalties for distracted driving behaviors. 

Texting and driving can lead to a fine of up to $500. In addition, drivers who are caught handling a device while driving are subject to 4 points being added to their license. If a Hoosier driver receives 20 points on their license, their license will be suspended. 

What to Do If You Were Injured By a Distracted Driver

Because distracted driving is so everyday, injuries caused by distracted driving accidents are also common. If you were injured by a distracted driver who took their attention from the road, it is important to seek legal assistance to confirm who was at fault and hold the at-fault driver accountable. 

Following any motor vehicle accident, you should take the following steps:

  1. Contact the authorities and don’t leave the scene of the accident until the police have arrived. The exception to this rule is if you were taken from the scene by medical personnel. 
  2. Gather evidence, including photos and video. Later, you may also collect evidence from security footage, witness testimonies, and vehicle data. 
  3. Seek medical treatment, even if you don’t think you are injured. Injuries can appear within a few hours to a few days after the accident. 
  4. Hire an attorney to support you throughout the aftermath of the accident and keep you informed of your rights and options. A personal injury attorney is your advocate! 

Flores Law Firm–Indianapolis’s Premier Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys

At Flores Law Firm, we serve drivers in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas. 

Our job is to help drivers get the compensation they deserve when they have been injured in an accident because of another driver’s fault. That includes distracted driving. 

To receive a free car accident consultation, fill out our online form or give us a call at 317-900-2556.

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