‘Hands-Free’ law goes into effect, now illegal to drive with cellphone in hand

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s now illegal to have your cellphone in your hand while driving. A ticket could cost up to $500. 

It’s called the “Hands-Free” law. Indians State Police say it’s been in the works for a while now. 

A good option to still use your phone while driving but not have it in your hand is to buy a mount to put on your dashboard, wear a Bluetooth headset, put your phone on speaker or commit to not using your phone at all. 

Indiana State Police Sergeant John Perrine says the previous texting law was difficult for officers to enforce. They had to prove the driver was texting. Now, they just have to see a phone in hand. 

Tailgating, weaving between lines or missing a turn signal are signs officers will be on the lookout for. 

There is an option on the iPhone to disable your phone while driving. If you don’t have an iPhone, there are apps you can download that will do the same thing. 

Law enforcement wants to be clear, this new law applies to everyone. 

“Police officers are not exempt from this law,” Sgt. Perrine said. “It’s going to take a bag out change for all of us. For many years we’ve gotten into this habit of being connected all the time and expecting people to be connected all the time. Hopefully, through educational efforts we will start to change those behavior efforts and people will be less likely to use that phone while driving.” 

According to federal authorities, states that have passed Hands-Free driving laws have seen crashes decrease almost 20% in the first two years. Other studies found the risk of a crash increases by up to six times if the driver is on the phone. 

Each day in the United States, nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes that involve a distracted driver. 

For the first month, ISP says when they pull drivers over it’s going to be more of an educational less than a ticket right off the bat.