Distracted driving proposal moves forward in Indiana

Politics

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –Indiana is moving forward with a bill that would ban people from holding cell phones while driving.

The House measure passed a Senate committee 8-1 Tuesday.

Dozens of victims and families of victims advocated for this law during the hearing.

One of them was Jodi Comer, a mother of an 18-year-old girl who died in a crash while texting and driving.

“She got accepted into IU earlier that month,” said Comer. “We are so proud of her.”

Jordan Scherer lost his nine-year-old son to a distracted driver.

“Mom took him to Disney that day,” Scherer explained as he showed a picture of his son at the theme park.

Both grieving parents hope lawmakers pass a bill that would make it illegal to hold electronics while driving.

“We run a foundation called the Living for Logan Foundation, a non-profit that aims to raise awareness and education for distracted driving,” said Scherer.

But sometimes awareness, education and even tragedies don’t stop people from picking up their phones behind the wheel. Comer admitted she would still text and drive even after her daughter was killed doing the same thing.

“I just made a decision one day.  It just didn’t feel right. The whole time I would be thinking about her and so I said I can’t do this,” said Comer.

She thinks this law could be what helps others come to that decision.

“You see it every day, people doing it,” said Comer.

Just because the bill bans you from holding your phone while driving, it doesn’t stop you from using it. You can hook it up to Bluetooth technology or mount it.

“I’m going to vote no on this bill,” said State Sen. Phillip Boots.

He was the only lawmaker to vote against the measure in committee, saying he didn’t think it would be effective.

But those advocating for the bill disagree. Especially the family members speaking on behalf of those who aren’t alive today.

“I think she is with me and I think she is happy,” said Comer.

“He’s absolutely cheering on the work that we are doing and the work that these legislators are doing,” said Scherer. “Because it matters. And he knows that it is not just in his name that we are fighting it is for everyone.”

Indiana State Police, prosecutors, car manufacturing companies and various emergency health care providers spoke on behalf of the bill.

ISP Superintendent Douglas Carter said he does not want law enforcement to be cut out of the bill. He said he wants them to also stop driving distracted.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

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