Indiana's cell phone laws are explicitly clear, easy to understand, and they address two major points:
- Drivers of all ages are not allowed to text while the vehicle is in motion.
- Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones or any other text messaging/wireless communication device.
It's no surprise to find that most Hoosiers agree with our state's cell phone laws, and some might even argue for more restrictions across the board. (If you're reading this and have been injured or lost a loved one to a distracted driver, you're likely to belong to the latter group.) However, the question that matters most at this time is whether or not our laws are helping top prevent accidents on Indiana's roadways?
According to a recent cell phone ban study, visible cell phone use decreases by about 50% when any state enforces a law banning mobile device usage. How do we know this?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) includes a special agency that has been monitoring driving habits at stoplights and signs throughout the country, and most people aren't aware because the observers are doing it in secret. This allows them to obtain natural results not affected by a driver who sees a marked vehicle.
Do Cell Phone bans affect safety records?
The study illustrated no evidence that a state's ban on texting affects the rate of accidents, however, safety records are greatly skewed because the percentage of people driving more safely when a cell phone law is in place is offset by the number of people who try to hide their cell phone use from other drivers (e.g., police officers).
In addition to being distracted with their phones, people in states that ban cell phone use are now distracted with concealment behavior and keeping watch for police officers, leading to an even more dangerous form of distracted driving.
Despite the findings of this latest study, we continue to see the devastating effects of texting-and-driving as well as general cell phone usage while operating a vehicle. It doesn't matter the age, sex, or experience of the driver, distracted driving continues to be a growing cause behind several of Indianapolis's most serious car and truck accidents.
Unknown to most, Keller & Keller has access to Indiana's crash reporting system and we are able to view the cause of collisions throughout the entire state. A significant number of reports list "Driver Distracted" as the primary factor behind the accident. Typically these accidents will involve the driver crossing the centerline, rear-ending another vehicle, or over-correcting after leaving the roadway.
In short, the number of accidents covered by the our major news stations involving cell phone usage pales in comparison to the ACTUAL number of distracted driving accidents happening everyday on Indiana's roads. And even though the focus is almost always cell phone use, any electronic device is a possible hazard or threat to life, including iPods, GPS, tablets, etc.
If you were involved in a distracted driving accident, or lost someone in an accident that involved a cell phone, you can speak with one of our Indianapolis injury lawyers to have your questions answered and determine whether or not the person who caused the accident broke the law.
We offer free consultations by phone at 1-800-253-5537, or you can write to us in confidence by using our online contact form.