Indiana’s Texting-While-Driving Ban: Why Is It Not Working and How Could It Be Better?

Emma Gormley

In an attempt to respond to the serious danger of texting while driving, well-intentioned state legislatures across the country have enacted almost uniformly under-inclusive laws that do little to deter drivers from engaging in risky, distracting behavior. These laws leave police floundering to find ways to enforce them. For many drivers, the perceived benefits of texting or otherwise using a cell phone while driving are high, while the risks seem low. Indiana’s texting while driving ban for all drivers, first put in place in 2011, has gone largely unused by police in the years since its passing, with fewer than 400 tickets written as of mid-2014. State police attribute the low numbers mainly to the difficulty they have had in enforcing the law. As it stands today, Indiana’s texting while driving statute contains gaping loopholes, which leave drivers free to engage in risky behaviors with little fear of legal repercussions.

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