Following a short presentation by Mayor Andy Cook at the Feb. 10 Westfield City Council meeting, council members unanimously supported House Bill 1070, which proposes prohibiting handheld devices while driving.
Cook’s 14-year-old grandson was killed in a 2018 auto accident caused by distracted driving.
“This is one of Gov. Holcomb’s top priorities. It is a distracted driving bill prohibiting any handheld device to be held in a hand while driving,” Cook said. “We have a lot of accidents that are attributed to distracted driving regarding handheld devices, and the current law we have in the state is virtually unenforceable.”
The current distracted driving law is not a primary violation, so a police officer cannot stop a driver for holding a cellphone.
“Our cops will tell you there are a lot of accidents caused by cellphone users, but they cannot (enforce the law) unless a driver or a motorist in an accident admits he was using a cellphone,” Cook said. “The current law doesn’t allow the officer to look at the cellphone to see if it was used. Many accidents then go down as following too closely.”
HB 1070 was unanimously passed in the Transportation Committee, 13-0, then passed in the Indiana House 86-10. It will appear before the Senate Feb. 18, when Cook plans to testify in support of the bill.
Cook said the bill still allows hands-free use, such as Bluetooth.