It soon may be illegal to have your phone in your hand while driving

Lawmakers debate distracted driving bill

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Wednesday afternoon, Indiana’s House lawmakers signaled a big message: Put your phone down while driving.

“They can use their phones in their car, but not in their hands,” said State Rep. Holli Sullivan, (R-Evansville). “So, they will need to utilize their speakers, Siri, Bluetooth and other dash-mounted devices.”

Under Rep. Sullivan’s hands-free distracted driving bill, there would be one big exception.

“If you’re the driver, the only exception is if to call 911 for a bonafide emergency,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan told News 8 drivers would be able to text on a phone using Bluetooth and speaker mode.

“We have had on the Indiana code that texting and driving is illegal. But it has been deemed unenforceable the way in which this code is written. So, we’re clarifying the code so it is enforceable,” Sullivan explained. “We will join 21 other states in hands-free driving.”

Wednesday, several lawmakers voiced support for the bill.

Republican State Rep. Jim Lucas wasn’t one of them. He called the bill “a slippery slope,” as he explained concerns about the state “taking over your personal decision making.” Lucas was one of 10 “no” votes in the House Wednesday.

Still, Sullivan believes the bill would save lives.

“We will create a culture shift in attention and education to Hoosiers on the importance of putting your phone down,” Sullivan said.

House lawmakers passed the bill with 86 “yes” votes and 10 “no” votes. Here’s how your state lawmaker voted.