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Hands-Free Driving Law Takes Effect July 1

Lauren Chapman
IPB News

Hoosiers can no longer use their cell phones while driving unless they’re hands-free, starting Wednesday.

The new law takes effect July 1. Indiana Department of Transportation spokesperson Scott Manning said drivers can still use their cell phones – but they must be hands-free.

"So, that could be as simple as just activating the speakerphone feature on your smartphone, maybe using Bluetooth technology," Manning said.

The hands-free law does have one exception – you can hold your cell phone in your hand to call 9-1-1.

Indiana State Police spokesperson Ron Galaviz said police will be on the lookout for certain signs.

“Similar driving behaviors with those that we suspect are intoxicated – weaving within their lane of travel, driving off the side of the road, left of center, those types of things,” Galaviz said.

Galaviz said officers across the state will have discretion whether to write a ticket or just a warning.

“We don’t want to blindside the motoring public because we know that a lot of people may not be aware that this law is going into effect,” Galaviz said.

The maximum fine is $500.

INDOT already started posting messages on state highway video boards about the new law. Manning said there will also be new physical signs.

“If you travel Indiana highways now, you probably see signs that raise awareness for the Move Over law," Manning said. "We’ll have signs placed similar to that around the state.”

Manning said other state agencies – including Indiana State Police and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles – will participate in a public awareness campaign. So, too, will private partners like Indiana road construction and trucking industry organizations.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.