Like many other states, Indiana has strict distracted driving laws for drivers under the age of 18. It is illegal for anyone to send a text message while operating a vehicle — but novice drivers are not allowed to make or take calls on a cell phone. These tighter restrictions were enacted because teenagers are more likely to engage in reckless or distracted driving behaviors and cause accidents.
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which showed the following:
- 50 percent of high school drivers sent text messages or e-mails while driving a car.
- Students who text while driving are five times more likely to drink and drive.
- Students who text while driving are twice as likely to ride with a drunk driver.
The CDC study showed a strong correlation between different types of high-risk, dangerous activities such as driving while impaired and engaging in distracted driving behaviors. Distracted driving — including texting, making a cell phone call, engaging with a dashboard technology or music device, or eating — accounted for 421,000 auto accident injuries and 3,328 fatalities in 2012. The highest risk group for these behaviors is the under-20 demographic. Although this group makes up only six percent of all drivers, it is responsible for 14 percent of all auto crash injuries and 10 percent of auto fatalities.