Lawmakers aim to outlaw distracted driving
Posted: Jan 27, 2015 9:53 AM EST | Updated: Jan 27, 2015 9:11 AM EST
A new bill could outlaw using a phone while driving – unless the driver is using a hands free device.
“It's unsafe. It really is. And I think about I got a grand baby here. I wouldn't want somebody running over her here because you're talking on the telephone,” Patricia Davis explained.
Distracted driving. We've all seen it.
That person who keeps looking down as he or she drives, one hand on the steering wheel the other using their smart phone.
“One of the jokes I make is you can always tell when somebody's texting because no one moves when the light turns green anymore. Everybody is looking down at their phone and the light turns green and it usually takes a couple seconds or a honk to get somebody moving,” said South Bend Police Captain Phil Trent.
Police said the problem is growing across Indiana and the entire country.
“We sense and we know that there's a lot of distracted driving occurring,” Trent said.
Currently, under Indiana law it is only illegal to text and drive.
“That's another tough thing to try to enforce. Because it's so difficult to be so invasive to look in someone's car,” said Trent.
Talking on the phone, using GPS, and even sending emails while driving are not against the law --at least not yet.
This year Senator Pete Miller introduced a new bill to outlaw the use of all hand held devices while driving.
He argues distracted driving can be as simple as placing a phone call.
If passed, police said the law would make their job easier.
If someone is driving with a phone in their hand, it would be illegal no questions asked.
“Yeah it would certainly cut down on the guessing we have to do. It would take all of the guess work out of it for law enforcement,” Trent explained.
But some drivers think the law goes too far and punishes those who can responsibly use their hand held phone.
“Texting I could see being an issue. But talking on your phone or using your GPS not so much,” Harrison Glon said.
Others think this law could make the roads a safer place.
“Texting and driving is bad. There's nothing good that can come out of texting and driving. You're looking down at your phone while driving. You never know. Something could pop out,” said Michael Carter.
“I think people are being distracted by talking on the phone. You cannot concentrate on the road if you're talking on the phone,” Patricia Davis said.
The law would make an exception for 9-1-1 calls.
There is no set date on when lawmakers will vote on the bill.