Indiana’s texting while driving ban goes into effect today, and it carries with it a $500 fine if convicted. State Representative Nancy Dembowski (D-Knox) said it’s about time.
“Texting while driving is a very dangerous activity,” said Dembowski. “Last year, or a couple of years ago, we prohibited young people under 18 from doing that and I suppose they are the most frequent who misuse it, but it made no sense to me and the legislature that we should prohibit it for young people but not for all of us so it takes effect for all of us.”
Texting has increased dramatically over the past few years. Dembowski talked about the danger of texting while driving.
“When you have a cell phone in your hand, and you’re thinking of texting and you’re looking straight ahead, when you look down to look at that keyboard, it takes something like five to six seconds for your brain to orient to that keyboard. Do you know how far you can drive at 55 mph in about six, seven and eight seconds? You can drive the full length of a football field including both end zones without ever looking up to see where you’re going.”
In a recent poll, citizens predicted the texting ban will be hard for police officers to enforce. Not so said police officers, saying its obvious some motorists are texting.
“It’s not as difficult as you think,” added Dembowski. “Most officers words are taken when they get into court and secondly, I remember the one officer who spoke said it’s not nearly as difficult as you might think, especially at nighttime. At nighttime, you can see the light from the phone when someone’s driving along. You can tell immediately that they’re using the phone and if it’s not at their ear, it’s obvious they’re texting.”
Another law taking effect today would allow Indiana’s citizens to carry handguns to ranges, gun shows and friends’ homes without a permit. The law would preempt any county or municipality restrictions.