Distracted driving law hits a bump in the road

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Most Indiana lawmakers support distracted driving legislation like House Bill 1070 as it continues to make its way through the statehouse.

It’s something Indiana State Police troopers are already talking about and believe it’s much needed in Indiana.

Sgt. John Perrine spends most of his time behind the wheel and has seen it all.

“You see a lot of people with their phone in their hand, whether they are talking on it, using it for navigation purposes or, unfortunately, even texting,” Perrine said.

Indiana lawmakers have already heard from people, from the mayor of Westfield to motorcyclists Lorin and Tina Smith, about just how dangerous and even deadly distracted driving can be.

During committee meetings about HB 1070, several people showed up to testify on behalf of the legislation.

The legislation would prohibit holding or using a telecommunications device while operating a moving motor vehicle.

Senator Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) voted "no" on the bill, saying distracted driving goes beyond the cell phone.

Boots is concerned that even if drivers can’t hold their phones, they can still be distracting in other ways. He expressed his concerns during a Homeland Security and Transportation Committee Meeting.

“I could watch a movie and do what else this phone is capable of and that's still distracted driving," Boots said.

If House Bill 1070 does become law, troopers will be on the lookout for drivers distracted by their phone.

“Maybe now is the time to go out and make a purchase, obtain some kind of hands-free device,” Sgt. Perrine said.

The bill must pass both the House and Senate in the same form before it could reach the governor’s desk. Since the bill was amended in the Senate, it must return to the House.

Govern Eric Holcomb expects House Bill 1070 to land on his desk so he can sign it into law.