BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. — Distracted drivers beware, Indiana law enforcement agencies will be on the hunt starting Thursday, April 8 for people breaking the hands-free law.
It is part of a nationwide movement called Connect to Disconnect. Agencies all across Indiana will increase their patrols for distracted driving. The goal is not just to catch people but to educate them.
It was only last year that Indiana beefed up their distracted driving laws by going hands free. Before that an officer had to catch a driver in the act of texting a message. Now even holding a phone is enough for a violation.
“One officer told me a story: he came up to a stop sign, and a lady was talking on her phone. She looked over and saw him and dropped her phone to the floor,” described Rob Duckworth, director of Traffic Safety Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
Since last July, there have been almost 3,000 citations and more than 7,3000 warnings in the state.
“Newer cars have a way you can connect your phone to the radio which is a lot safer,” said Chief Deputy Chris Lane with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office.
The extra patrols are made possible in the state by grant funding through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Chief Deputy Lane says extra Bartholomew County deputies will be out on Thursday.
“There will be deputies out there on patrol, and some may be an unmarked cars,” added Chief Deputy Chris Lane.