More Than 1,000 Hoosiers Cited During Distracted Driving Campaign

Friday, April 16th, 2021 9:04am

By Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, news release

The overtime patrols took place as part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Shutterstock photo.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) - The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute today announced the results of the one-day enforcement campaign, Connect 2 Disconnect, that took place on April 8 to discourage distracted driving in Indiana. Altogether, more than 60 police agencies participated in the mobilization which, combined, issued a total of 455 written warnings and 596 citations under the hands-free device driving law.

The overtime patrols, which took place as part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, were funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through ICJI.

“Driving distracted is one of the most dangerous activities a person can do behind the wheel,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “It’s on the same level as impaired driving and can be just as lethal. As a society, we need to change how we view this issue and treat it as something that’s socially unacceptable.”

Data from NHTSA shows that in 2019, distracted driving crashes claimed the lives of 3,142 people in the U.S. – a 10 percent increase from the previous year. In Indiana alone, there were 24 traffic fatalities involving a distracted driver in 2019.

One of the goals of the Connect 2 Disconnect campaign was to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, as well as educate motorists about the hands-free law, which went into effect last July. Under the law, motorists are prohibited from holding a mobile device, except in emergencies, while their vehicles are moving. Violators could face a Class C infraction and be subject to a fine.

ICJI Traffic Safety Director Robert Duckworth said that while the law is still relatively new, it was put in place to reduce distracted driving and is already having a positive impact in Indiana.

“Every time an officer stops someone under the hands-free law, that’s an educational opportunity and another person that will think twice before driving distracted,” Duckworth said. “Our hope is that we’ll see more people, without being prompted, putting away the distractions when behind the wheel.”

While the high-visibility enforcement mobilization is over, the criminal justice institute wants to remind motorists that distracted driving is a choice and preventable. It’s considered any activity that diverts attention away from the task of driving and includes everything from adjusting the stereo to grooming to eating and drinking.

Although texting is the most alarming distraction, all forms are considered dangerous, as they increase the risk of crashing.

Drivers are encouraged to activate their phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature or place it in their glove box, center console or back seat until they reach their destination. They can also designate a passenger to be their “designated texter” by allowing them to access their phone.

For more information on distracted driving, visit www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/distracted-driving, or for more information about Indiana’s hands-free device driving law, visit www.HandsFreeIndiana.com.

More from Local News

Events

  • Sunman-Dearborn Schools 2021-2022 New Student and Kindergarten Enrollment

    Sunman-Dearborn Schools is enrolling 2021-2022 Kindergarten students as well as students new to the district. Please check the district or school websites for online enrollment forms. Call 812-623-2291 for more information.

    at Sunman-dearborn Community Schools
  • Hillforest Museum Open for Tours

    Hillforest Victorian House Museum was the home of industrialist and financier Thomas Gaff and his family between 1855 and 1926.

    at Hillforest Museum
  • Knight’s Golf Outing for the Benefit of the Pregnancy Care Center

    The Lawrenceburg (1231) and Bright (14862) Knights of Columbus Councils are putting on their annual Golf Outing for the benefit of the Pregnancy Care Center S.E. IN on May 10th. The Pregnancy Care Center is a non-profit Christian ministry offering hope to those facing an unplanned pregnancy with life lesson classes for both mothers and fathers. The ladies at the Center do great work and truly change people’s lives. We as Knights of Columbus are honored to support them by raising money for them though this outing. Monday May 10th At Hidden Valley Golf Course Lunch starts at 11:30, Tee Off at 1:00PM, Dinner at 5:30 $100/Person, Scramble Format with Prizes Call or email for more information - 812 221 1193 kofcgolfouting@yahoo.com

    at Hidden Valley Golf Course

Pat O'Neill Memorial Pool & Splash Park Opens Memorial Day Weekend

A three-day Early-Bird Pool Pass Registration Event will take place later this month.

Jefferson County Man Arrested for Child Molesting

During the investigation, detectives learned that Koehler allegedly inappropriately touched two female children under the age of 14 on more than one occasion when they visited his home. 

Local Sports Report - May 4, 2021

Weather continued to spoil the high school sports slate on Tuesday.

Switzerland Co. Athletes Highlight Latest ORVC Report

Three Pacers earned weekly honors for their play between April 26-May 1.

Lawrenceburg Native Gets NFL Shot With Hometown Bengals

Punter Drue Chrisman has signed with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent.

On Air

Carlene Carter I Fell in Love 17:54
Jon Pardi Head Over Boots 17:48
Tim McGraw For A Little While 17:45
Eli Young Band Crazy Girl 17:42