TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Indiana’s texting and driving law will celebrate its three-year anniversary Tuesday and in that three years, it’s caused some frustration among law enforcement officers.
“The law itself is kind of difficult for a trooper to actually enforce,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley.
That’s because unless an officer actually catches the driver texting, they can’t issue a ticket.
Under the current law drivers can’t text, but they can use their phone to make calls and access applications. Riley said often times, it serves as a perfect excuse.
“So many people are texting and then they see a police car, and they naturally drop the phone or they’ll tell us they were doing something different,” said Riley. “So, it is rather difficult being that we can’t get the phone and use the phone to see if they were texting at the time of the stop.”
Riley said statewide, 150 tickets were issued for texting and driving in 2013. He said most times, the tickets were issued after a crash occurred.
“Distracted driving, I think, has now become the number one problem we have right now when it comes to crashes,” said Riley.
Democratic State Rep. Sheila Klinker said legislators are aware the law is hard to enforce. She said legislators have looked to make the law stricter, but she said it’s hard to do without being invasive.
“Because of the privacy that’s involved in cell phones, it will be probably a difficult bill to pass,” said Klinker.
Klinker said it’s likely the texting and driving ban will be discussed during the next legislative session. However, she said it could take time to see changes on the roadways.
“We’ll look at other states as we do on other issues and see what their proposals include, and then we may look at some other solutions,” said Klinker.
Klinker also encourages law enforcement officers to speak with their local legislators about any problems they have with the current law. She said that will help legislators make the necessary changes.