Loopholes in Texting While Driving Law

by Staff on July 1, 2011

in State

Texting While DrivingNew laws going into effect today in the State of Indiana include a controversial “no texting while driving” law.

Starting today, no one — regardless of age — can read, write, or send a text message or email while driving in Indiana.

There are some loopholes in these laws, however. Let’s look at what the laws say.

Indiana Code 9-21-8-59(a) says:

A person may not use a telecommunications device to:

(1) type a text message or an electronic mail message;
(2) transmit a text message or an electronic mail message; or
(3) read a text message or an electronic mail message;

while operating a moving motor vehicle unless the device is used in conjunction with hands free or voice operated technology, or unless the device is used to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency.

Let’s assume a police officer witnesses you messing around with your mobile phone while driving. How can he know what you’re really doing? Even the police admit that this is a tough law to enforce.

“Enforcement’s going to be tough just because it doesn’t cover dialing the phone, so, you know, are they dialing a phone or are they texting?” Evansville Police Sgt. Chris Pugh said.

If you get stopped by a police officer who suspects you may have been texting or emailing, your best bet is to always say as little as possible and never to admit to anything. If you are ticketed, you can explain to the judge later that you were dialing your telephone or checking the GPS for directions. After all, it’s up to the police to prove that you were violating the law.

What if they try to take your phone to see what you were really doing with it?  Indiana Code 9-21-8-59(b) says they can’t:

A police officer may not confiscate a telecommunications device for the purpose of determining compliance with this section or confiscate a telecommunications device and retain it as evidence pending trial for a violation of this section.

Obviously, refraining from texting while driving will increase your chances of not killing yourself or others in an accident. In accidents involving serious injury or death, police can, will, and do pull phone records to determine if texting may have been a factor.

Drive safe and don’t be stupid.

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