Heart of the River hosts Protest Paddle

 

By Suzannah Couch

Hoosier motorists would have to stop sending texts and

e-mails from their cell phones if a measure approved by the State Senate on Thursday

becomes law.

Senate

Bill 18,

which passed on a 29-21 vote, would allow police to ticket anyone

who sends or reads a text or e-mail while behind the wheel. Drivers caught

doing so could be fined.

Thirty states currently ban texting while driving. Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) said there is evidence that motorists text while driving less often in those states.

There was opposition to the bill in the Senate.

Sen. Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) said the state already

has laws that prohibit reckless driving and that texting and driving is a

reckless activity.

"You cannot legislate responsibility.

Parents have to teach their children responsibility and children have to accept

responsibility for their actions," Boots said.

Lanane said he is not sure whether

texting while driving counts as reckless driving under the law.

"We finally know that it constitutes reckless driving only

after somebody has gotten in a wreck and killed themselves or somebody else," Lanane said.

Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg)

posed the question of how police officers would be able to enforce the law. She

asked how would the police be able to figure out who is texting and who is

making a phone call.

Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said a person could show

the phone to a police officer to prove he or she was making a phone call by

going into their phone log.

Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle), the author of the bill, said that every police

officer he spoke to said police would be able to enforce the law.

"Let's act now because we know it will save lives," Holdman said.

The above is one of an ongoing series of reports from the Indiana Statehouse by students at the Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism.

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