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Indiana Texting Ban To Take Effect Later This Year

Indiana’s newly-passed texting-while-driving ban is scheduled to go into effect July 1, once it’s signed into law by Governor Mitch Daniels.      The measure approved last week by lawmakers extends to drivers of all ages, who will be prohibited from reading or sending texts. It’s already illegal for drivers 18 and under to use a cell phone for any purpose.The measure barely won final passage last week in the state Senate, with opponents questioning how police will be able to tell whether a driver is texting or making a call.But Indiana Criminal Justice Institute Traffic Safety Division Director Ryan Klitzsch says it’s as much an informational campaign as an effort to crack down on distracted drivers."There’s really three main types of distraction: visual, manual and cognitive. And why texting is so dangerous is because it involves all three of those -visual, manual and cognitive-and so taking those three aspects off of driving really adversely affects someone’s safety," he said.Klitzsch says the law won’t apply to hands-free technology now available on many devices and in newer automobiles.Kentucky and 31 other states already have a similar texting ban in place.Indiana State Police say they're putting together an enforement plan for the measure. It calls for a $500 maximum fine for violators.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.