LAFAYETTE â€“ This week, during his State of the State speech, Gov. Eric Holcomb renewed his call for a ban on cellphone use while driving.
So, hereâ€™s the question for a panel of J&C readers: Indiana has had a law since 2011 that prohibits drivers from texting while behind the wheel. But the law does not address other uses of cellphones while driving, such as checking social media or messing with music playlists. (Police say the law is difficult to enforce because, even when an officer sees a cellphone in a driverâ€™s hand, itâ€™s not easy to know how the device is being used.) Holcomb has called for a law, similar to ones in 21 other states, that would ban the use of hand-held phones while driving. Do you agree with Holcomb that Indiana needs a cellphone ban, or some other restrictions, for drivers?
â–ş Dave Glassburn, Mulberry: Yes, I absolutely agree with the governor. There is no reason to drive and use your handheld device. I hope this happens. There is already way too much distracted driving. Â
â–ş Bill Cochran, West Lafayette: Anyone with half a brain wonâ€™t use his/her phone while driving. Â Â If I have to, which is rare, I pull over. Â Â The police are obviously right that the current law is in most cases an impossibility to enforce. Â Â Another law as described might be better, but what about all the newer model vehicles with about as much electronics as I have at home? Â Â Talk about a distraction.
â–ş Rob Keeney, Flora: Absolutely disagree. What we need is actual punishment for someone who causes an accident, regardless of what they had in their hand.
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â–ş Andrew Hughes, Lafayette: I don't believeÂ banning the use of hand-held phones while driving is the solution, rather I suggest that they be required to be in holder on your dashboard and only used there, like more modern cars do through a console hooked up to the phone.Â Â This would encourageÂ the use and further development of voice technology, which leaves the hands and eyes free to attend to the road.
â–ş Beth Goodman, West Lafayette: I do agree that a law banning use of all handheld devices makes sense. However, the problem is enforcement.Â Unless the presence of law enforcement officers, local and state highway patrolÂ is increased on the road to enforce it, the law has no teeth.Â People looking down to use handhelds are a danger to everyone on the road. The law needs to be passed and enforced.
â–ş Jon Held, Lafayette: This governor is a big government superhero. If Holcomb is in favor of banning hand held devices during driving it should include hand held sandwiches, drinks, maps, baby bottles and cigarettes. Personal responsibility is the answer, not more laws that will be selectively enforced.Â
â–ş Cathy Holmberg, West Lafayette: I totally agree that something needs to be done about cell phone use on the road. But it seems that the law isn't being enforced. I don't know if the officers are limited or just don't care. If a person has a phone in their hand, then it should be illegal straight out.
â–ş Dan Sommers, West Lafayette: I am usually against more regulation, but something must be done.Â Too many people are driving into trees or other vehicles for â€śno apparent reason.â€ťÂ I have also seen an increased use of headphones while driving, which I believe is already illegal.
â–ş Chloe Harshman, Lafayette: It is a sorry state of affairs when the state has to make a law to force people to act safely. ...Â I agree with the governor. Hands free is an option, but doesn't common sense dictate that the fewer distractions one has while drivingÂ , the less likely you are to have an accident?
â–ş Nelson Howell, Dayton: Any use of a phone â€“ or any other device â€“ that distracts the attention of a driver should not be allowed. This would preclude the requirement of knowing exactly how the device was being used.
â–ş Tom Haynie, Bluffton: The fewer government regulations,Â the better. When safety of others is involved, however, we need them.Â Twice, looking down at my phone, I nearly collided with a slowed vehicle in front of me. I would be devastated if I killed someone.Â I agree with Go. Holcomb on this one.
â–ş Bert Chapman, Lafayette: I support Gov. Holcombâ€™s legislative proposal to prohibit hand-held phones while driving.Â Drivers should be solely focused on concentrating on road conditions and protecting themselves, their passengers and other drivers.
â–ş Noemi Ybarra, Lafayette: Hundreds of people killed in traffic accidents by distracted drivers call out to us to ban the use of all hand-held electronic devices while driving.
â–ş Michael Morris, Lafayette: Yes, for once, this is something Holcomb wants to do that I support. Distracted driving has been proven to be as dangerous drunk driving. Weâ€™ve all done it, and such a law would require us to think twice.
â–ş Tom McConville, West Lafayette: I think drivers and cell phones are a mismatch.Â I drive a five-speed stick shift truck and refuse to talk and drive. Whoever wants to talk to me can wait.Â
â–ş Tom Topping, Lafayette: Yes, of course, I agree with such a ban.Â Distracted drivingÂ is a major source of automobileÂ collisions, injury and death.Â Anything our lawmakers can do to help reduce that should be welcomed.Â Seems like a no-brainer to me.
â–ş Carlos Gambirazio, West Lafayette: Iâ€™m behind those changes 100 percent. Itâ€™s demonstrated that taking your attention away from the road, even for a few seconds, endangers you, your passengers and the people around you. We need those changes now.
â–ş Eric Schlene, West Lafayette: I like the George Carlin solution: Issue every driver a dart gun to tag bad drivers. When an officer sees a car with five or more darts stuck to it, the driver gets an automatic ticket for being a bonehead.
â–ş Terry Smith, Shadeland: I absolutely agree that the use of hand held cell phones while driving should be against the law.Â It doesn't really matter what you are doing on the phone while driving, it's always a distraction.Â Taking your eyes off the road for only a few seconds can be deadly.
â–ş Dan Clark, West Lafayette: In my opinion, Indiana needs to pass a law that would ban the use of hand-held phones while driving.Â The current law is unenforceable.
â–ş Megan Stoner, Fishers: I do agree with Gov. Holcomb that Indiana needs a ban on hand-held phones. Knowing that someone that is using a cellphone in whatever way is three times more likely to be in an accident is an absolute no-brainer.Â
â–ş Glen Jonas, Dayton: I agree we need a law prohibiting the use of handheld devices while driving. Hands free still has issues taking your mind off of driving, but itâ€™s much better than what we have today. The problem is getting anything passed by our â€śvery busyâ€ť lawmakers.Â
â–ş Jeff Hoon, Lafayette: Distracted drivers are dangerous, and adding all hand heldÂ cell phones to ban while driving makes sense.Â
â–ş Don Wood, West Lafayette: Yes, ban handhelds.Â Too much distraction.
â–ş Danny L. McDaniel, Lafayette: Driving is a serious business. Anything that distract the driver from the primary responsibility of operating a vehicle should be outlawed. Texting, drinking, eating or talking on the phone should be things responsible drivers wouldn't do. Unfortunately, those vices will be the things police will submit on their collusion reports â€“ all after the fact.Â People should just be responsible and take driving seriously.
â–ş Harry H. Hirschl, West Lafayette: Driving any vehicle is a dangerous activity, requiring the complete attention of the driver. Using a cellphone is a distraction and must be made unlawful. If it can be shown that a driver was using a cellphone and caused an accident, the driver must be charged with a felony. Gov. Holcomb is correct in calling for a law banning a driver using a cellphone. The law is undoubtedly difficult to enforce.
â–ş Arlan Stavnheim, Lafayette: Just have a law that requires hands free communication when driving.
YOUR TURN:Â If youâ€™d care to be considered for future reader panel questions, send your name and town and preferred email address toÂ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Dave Bangert at 765-420-5258 or at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @davebangert.