Many were surprised to hear that, effective July 1st, a tough new amendment was added to an Indiana law that prohibits the use of cellphones by minors driving a motor vehicle.
Before July 1, the state law applied only to teen drivers younger than 18.
Now any driver younger than 21 may not use a phone in the car for any reason. That includes GPS, texting, and even listening to music. There is an exception for calling 911. There is no provision allowing hands-free use.
The new legislation was sold as a way to target the increasing number of new drivers who are waiting until they turn 18 or older to get a license. Those drivers then don’t have to follow the state’s graduated driving license law, which limits passengers in the car and nighttime driving as well as cellphone use.
One of the reasons for the amendment was “the fatality rate for drivers between 18 and 21 is rising while the rate has dropped for those younger than 18,” according to Sherry Deane of AAA Hoosier Motor Club. This is a law aimed at saving these lives.
According to TeenDriverSource.org, crashes still make up the leading cause of death in teens and the crash risk is four times higher when drivers use cell phones, including hands free devices.
The law also outlines who can ride with new drivers. The only passengers allowed in the vehicle with an unsupervised driver up to 21 years old for the first six months are siblings, the driver’s children, or a spouse.
Lawmakers have also restricted nighttime driving. Unsupervised teen drivers 18 and under will have to park their vehicles between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. from Sunday through Thursday nights into the following morning. Also, no driving is allowed between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The only exceptions for that rule — work, school activities, or a religious event.
Unfortunately, many of the accidents caused by teen drivers who use their phones while driving have resulted in innocent people being seriously injured or even killed.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of any type of motor vehicle crash caused by a negligent driver, the attorneys at Theodoros & Rooth can help you. We offer a free consultation and if we determine you have a case, we will fight for you aggressively. You pay nothing until we get you a fair settlement.
For more information on safe driving rules for teens and others check out: https://www.hoosier.aaa.com