Some lawmakers still skeptical about hands-free driving law in Indiana

Posted at 2:28 PM, Jan 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 14:28:36-05

INDIANAPOLIS — One of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s legislative priorities is to enact a hands-free driving law in the state. But whether that will happen is still up in the air.

A few years ago, Indiana passed a law against texting while driving, but Holcomb and legislators say it’s unenforceable. The current law doesn’t outlaw sending tweets or reading emails, for example. Under a hands-free law, you could still use your phone, you just couldn't be holding it while you drive. You could use GPS or a phone call through Bluetooth or on speaker.

Holcomb reiterated his wish in Tuesday night’s State of the State speech.

“Distracted driving increases the risk of a crash by more than three-and-a-half times and is a leading killer of teenagers in America,” Holcomb said. “This is unacceptable and avoidable.”

But Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma said some Republicans are not in favor of a hands-free law, saying it may infringe on personal liberties.

"Preliminarily, there are some who think it's a great idea,” Bosma said last week. “There are some who are less enthusiastic about it. A lot of Libertarians in our caucus who don't think this is a decision for government to make. We have some folks that are more safety minded who think this is absolutely the right decision."

Bosma said Thursday he’s “warming up” to the law, and that the members are taking the issue seriously.

“We had a member who had a granddaughter on the phone and rolled the car last night,” Bosma said. “We hear about these things. … I've encouraged the governor to make the sale to members."

Democratic leaders in both the House and the Senate have said they would be in favor of a hands-free law in Indiana.