License Penalty Now in Effect Within Indiana’s Hands-Free Law
Usually, scoring points is a good thing. For example, when you're trying to win a game or when you doing something nice and score "brownie points" to get in someone's good graces. However, scoring points when behind the wheel of your vehicle has the potential to cost you your license if you get enough of them, and Indiana just implemented a new way to get them.
Believe it or not, it's been over a year since Indiana's Hands-Free Law (authored by Representative Holli Sullivan of Evansville) went into effect (July 1st, 2020 to be exact). You likely know about the law by now, but in case you don't, it prohibits you from holding your phone for any reason while driving any vehicle. Someone calling sending you a text while you're out running errands? If you absolutely, positively just have to know who it is and what they want while you're cruising down the Lloyd, find a parking lot to pull into before you check it, even if you think it will only take a few seconds. If you decide to take that call or check that text and a law enforcement officer catches you, they'll write you a ticket which could carry a fine of up to $500.
As of now, it can also add points to your driving record.
When the bill was first drafted and written into law, it included a provision that would add points to your record as part of the penalty, like nearly any other moving violation such as speeding. However, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles chose to hold off enforcing that portion of the bill for the first year to give law enforcement agencies around the state time to let the public know it had gone into effect. That year has come and gone, putting the provision into effect.
How Many Points Could You Get?
According to Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Peter Lacy during a press conference late last week, violating the law will now add four points to your record in addition to the fine, the same number getting busted for driving 16-25 miles per hour over the speed limit carries.
More Points, More Problems
In Indiana, accumulating 20 points results in a one-month suspension of your license. An extra month is added for every two points you acquire after you reach 20.
Can You Use Your Phone at All While Driving?
Yes. If your vehicle has Bluetooth connectivity, Apple Car Play, Android Auto, or some other method that allows you to interact with your phone without having to physically hold it, you're good. Even if it doesn't, you can still use it as long as your using the speakerphone option. The only time the law allows you to hold your phone while driving is if you're calling 911 to report an emergency.