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Is Indiana's texting and driving ban working?

More than three years ago, Indiana lawmakers passed a bill that made texting and driving a punishable offense in the state. Supported by a number of extensive studies on distracted driving and hundreds of accident stories, the bill promised to hold reckless drivers accountable for their negligent actions and potentially reduce the number of distracted driving accidents that occur each year.

But a question that was raised after the law went into effect is still being asked to this day: is the law serving its intended purpose? Some have argued yes by pointing out that any ban on cellphone use behind the wheel has the potential to reduce distracted driving. But others are less convinced, pointing to the low number of texting-and-driving tickets that have been issued since the law was passed.

Until the Indiana Department of Transportation or other traffic safety authority releases more recent crash data, the effectiveness of the cellphone ban will continue to be up for debate. What is interesting to point out however is that in 2011, the year the ban went into effect, there was a slight decline in the number of cellphone-related accidents in the state. The number of cellphone-related crashes involving injuries was also less in 2011 than it had been in the previous year.

Whether you believe the law is working or not, there is one key thing to remember: not everyone will follow the law. Despite the possible penalties for violating the ban, some people will still choose to participate in this negligent behavior. It's important to remember though that this form of reckless driving can result in accidents; and if a vehicle's occupant suffers an injury because of a crash, you could be held liable in future litigation.

Sources: The South Bend Tribune, "INDIANA OPINION : State's attempt to ward off dangers is working," July 28, 2014  

in.gov, "2011 Indiana Crash Facts," Accessed Aug. 1, 2014

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