Does New Texting Ban Go Far Enough?

By Megan Trent
By Julian Teekaram

June 7, 2011 Updated Jun 7, 2011 at 6:39 PM EDT

INDIANA (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Beginning July 1, Hoosier drivers who text while driving could be facing a hefty fine, but how enforceable is the new legislation?

In February, Indiana legislators passed a ban prohibiting drivers from sending or reading text messages or emails when they're behind the wheel. Similar laws are already on the books for teens ages 18 and younger in Indiana. This ban, however, applies to drivers of all ages.

Those people found to be in violation of the new legislation could be issued a traffic citation for $500, but many law enforcement officers say the bill will be extremely difficult to enforce.

The ban does not apply to talking on the phone or using it for other functions outside of texting and email. That's why officers say determining who is texting and who is looking down at their phones for other reasons, like dialing or GPS, would be challenging at best.

If a driver is suspected of violating the texting ban, an officer is unable to ask that driver to see their phone. This could make proving the driver was texting even more difficult. Law enforcement officers are able to subpoena phone records, but say they likely wouldn't unless there was a crash or injury.

Chief Allen County Sheriff's Deputy, David Gladieux says, "If they (legislators) truly do want to save lives, I think a complete ban would be MUCH easier to enforce, obviously, and I think it would be better served."

A complete ban on cell phone use in vehicles would limit drivers to hands free devices. Gladieux says the new texting ban is a good starting point, but he expects legislators to amend it down the road.




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