Although the new Indiana texting law was signed with the noblest of intentions, a far-reaching public campaign to show the dangers of distracted driving would achieve better results.
Indiana recently made texting while driving illegal. Texting while driving is now a Class C infraction with a maximum fine of $500. The law goes into effect on July 1.
One of the downsides of the new law is that it is not easily enforced. Police officers have to be certain that a driver is distracted by his or her phone to be able to pull him or her over and will not be able to check the text log of the individual. These conditions present difficulties that officials and West Lafayette Police Department officers have noted.
The law also has one significant loophole. The law prohibits texting while driving but does not prohibit any other features of the phone being used while driving. If drivers get pulled over for suspicion of texting while driving, they can say they were looking at their GPS or playing Angry Birds or doing anything but texting or sending an email and they would not be ticketed under the new law.
This law may cause a slight drop in texting related accidents but the majority of motorists who text while driving will probably continue to do so.
If Indiana started a public campaign to inform motorists about the dangers of driving while distracted, it would be more effective in reducing the amount of texting that occurs while driving.
Using notable examples of people killed by drivers who were allegedly texting while driving, such as Danny Oates and Heather Leigh Hurd, to deter distracted driving would be much more effective than a law officers will have difficulty enforcing.