(Indianapolis, Ind.) - It will soon be illegal for anyone to text while driving in Indiana.
Governor Mitch Daniels signed a bill Tuesday expanding the law from drivers under 18 to those of all ages.
According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, the law prohibits the use of any telecommunications device to type, transmit, or read text messages or e-mail while operating a moving motor vehicle. Drivers are however permitted to use hands free or voice operated technology to perform these functions.
The law takes effect July 1. That’s when police will be able to stop and ticket a driver solely for texting. Those drivers could be hit with a fine up to a $500 fine.
"Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to be involved in a collision serious enough to cause injury," said Ryan Klitzsch, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute Traffic Safety Division Director. "This legislation is an important step in our efforts to ensure the safety of all Hoosier motorists," he continued.
Driver distractions accounted for more than 7,800 collisions on Indiana roadways in 2009.
Kentucky began a texting while driving law in 2010. Ohio's state legislature is currently considering a similar law.