Drivers on cellphones are greatest fear of motorcyclists

Motorcyclists endangered by distracted drivers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – If the pothole-laced roads of Indianapolis are not bad enough for motorcyclists, distracted drivers make it even worse. 

One News 8 viewer, an avid motorcyclist with about 40 years of experience, reached out about what he called his greatest fear on the street: drivers with a cellphone in one hand and their eyes somewhere else. 

“It is the distracted driver, it is the cellphone. It is becoming a craze that we have to hold the phone close to your face. You can’t see in front of you. It is not even driving anymore; it is driving is secondary now and being on the phone is primary,” said motorcycle driver Michael Conquect.

Conquect is 54 years old and rides for the fun of it. But he says the fun of riding isn’t what it used to be, with drivers more interested in their phones than what is going on around them. He recalled a time last week when a younger driver was more interested in her phone than the road.

“She couldn’t see me. I was in the left lane, she was in the middle lane, and she couldn’t see me because her hair was down like this, and she was just knocking away at that phone. And all of a sudden, she looked up, and I was looking at her, and my lid flipped up, and I was like, “Really?” you know, and I backed off,” said Conquect.

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He rides with a camera on his helmet most days and says he isn’t afraid to have a “conversation” with distracted drivers at stoplights.

“Most of them, I can’t say on TV, but usually I will give a signal (motions with hands to hang up the phone) like this, and I get the one-finger gesture back most of the time,” said Conquect.

The texting and driving law went on the Indiana books almost eight years ago. But enforcement of the existing law isn’t as easy as pulling drivers over and looking at their phone, according to Sgt. John Perrine with Indiana State Police.

“The problem is it is a difficult law to enforce because it is not illegal to have your phone in your hands. So if I’m driving down the road and see someone with their phone in their hands, I can’t just pull them over and say, ‘Hey, you were texting,” so what I look for are the other things: the fail to signal lane change or the weaving,” said Perrine.

According to the state of Indiana, people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to crash and have a 30% slower reaction time.

Indiana drivers caught texting and driving could face a $500 fine.