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
Senate Bill 18,
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
"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.