Posted: October 29, 2019

Distracted driving lawyersIndiana's Distracted Driving Law makes it illegal for drivers to type, send, or read text messages and emails, even if you're stopped at a traffic light or stop sign. It also prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a cell phone under any circumstances, including talking and hands-free use.

If you were injured in a car accident because another motorist was texting and driving, you could be left with physical, mental, emotional, and financial injuries. At Gardner & Rans P.C., our South Bend car accident attorneys will fight for justice on your behalf and pursue the compensation you deserve. This blog breaks down why it's illegal to use your phone at a stoplight, why any cell phone use behind the wheel is dangerous, and how local and state laws may change in the future.

Why Can't I Text at a Stoplight?

Texting at a stoplight is just as dangerous as texting while your car is in motion. This is because of a phenomenon called latency. Latency is the time it takes your brain to re-engage with driving after you look at your phone. This affects you whether you're moving or stopped.

Your brain takes an average of 27 seconds to focus back on driving after you look away from your phone. And when the average driver looks at their phone, they take their eyes off the road for 3-5 seconds. That means that every time you look at your phone, you're taking your mind off driving for at least 30 seconds. So, even if you’re halted at a stoplight or stop sign, your brain won’t be focused by the time you start moving.

Why Can’t Teens Use Their Phones While Driving?

Even if you’re not looking at your screen, any phone use while driving is dangerous. Human brains are not capable of multitasking at the level needed to have a conversation and drive safely at the same time. Are you able to concentrate on reading a book or watching a movie while you talk on the phone? It’s impossible to devote sufficient brainpower to both. The same is true for driving.

For this reason, teens under the age of 18 aren’t allowed to use their cell phones at all while driving in Indiana.

Are Indiana’s Cell Phone Laws Changing?

Cell phone laws may soon change at the Indiana state level and the local level in South Bend. A bill in the Indiana House of Representatives would make holding any “wireless communications device” while driving illegal. That would effectively outlaw drivers from having cell phone conversations, changing the music, or inputting GPS directions. The bill would also ban recording or viewing videos and images while driving.

Meanwhile, the South Bend Common Council is considering a similar proposal that would ban drivers from holding cell phones. That practice is already illegal in South Bend school zones.

Contact Our South Bend Car Accident Attorneys Today

Distracted driving is a reckless practice that can hurt or kill innocent people. If you or a loved one were injured by a driver who was texting or talking on their cell phone, the attorneys at Gardner & Rans P.C. will help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

We serve South Bend, Elkhart, Granger, La Porte, Mishawaka, and surrounding areas of Indiana. Call (574) 233-6035 today to schedule a consultation.