How to Safely Text and Drive
It is well established that texting while driving is a dangerous activity because it takes the driver’s attention away from the road, and has resulted in numerous motor vehicle accidents. In 2010, cell phone use accounted for 1,100 crashes in Indiana, four of which resulted in fatalities. Forty-one states have passed laws banning texting while driving, including Indiana. Six other states have limiting laws with emphasis towards prohibiting new drivers from texting while driving. Three states—namely Arizona, Montana, and South Carolina—have no laws banning texting while driving, although several municipalities within those states have issued local bans against it.
As of July 1, 2011, Indiana made it illegal to text while driving. In particular, it is illegal to type, send, or read a text while operating a moving motor vehicle unless the electronic device is used with hands free or voice operated technology. See Ind. Code 9-21-8-59. Violation of this law is a Class C infraction, with penalties of up to $500. While enforcement of the law has been difficult because police officers are not always able to catch people in the act of texting, it remains an important safety law.
Additionally, employers are increasingly developing strict cellphone use policies for their employees who drive as part of their job to prevent accidents, particularly when employees are using corporate cell phones. For example, Safeway Foods, which has one of the largest fleet of trucks, has a ban on the use of cell phones while driving. As a result, the company reports having a very low number of injuries and frequencies of accidents. For many employers, it is beneficial to have a corporate cell phone use and texting policy in place with additional training programs to familiarize employees with the policies.
So, how can you safety text and drive? You can’t.