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Report: Laws alone won't stop cell phone use while driving

IL Staff
February 12, 2010
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A House bill looking to ban texting while driving in Indiana on its own may not be very effective in preventing drivers from using their cell phones in the car, according to a policy brief from an Indiana University research center.

Laws regulating cell phones while driving aren't doomed to fail, but they need to be reinforced with campaigns designed for target audiences, according to Matt Nagle, a research analyst at the Center for Criminal Justice Research and author of the brief. Older drivers tend to be deterred by the threat of law enforcement, but younger drivers are more influenced by their peers, who say it's acceptable to use a cell phone while driving.

Drivers under the age of 18 already can't use a cell phone while driving in Indiana, thanks to a new ban that took effect in July 2009.

House Bill 1279, which is currently in the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure, would make it a Class C infraction if someone sends a text or e-mail while behind the wheel, unless they are using a hands-free or voice-operated device to send the message.

The brief, "Cell phones and driving: A review of legislation, risk perception and mitigation tactics," cites several studies that show the risk of having an accident when using a cell phone while driving is much greater than for those who don't.

Nagle noted that many drivers in Indiana are often alone in their cars and research has shown those drivers are more likely to talk on their phones.

"Without publicity campaigns to highlight the risks and without enforcement to provide a punitive deterrent, drivers may be inclined to continue this driving behavior," according to the policy brief.

The brief is available online.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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