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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues