Texting, sending e-mails while driving could face state ban - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Texting, sending e-mails while driving could face state ban

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Posted by: Nadia Crow

You know you shouldn't do it, and some lawmakers want to make it illegal.  Texting and sending e-mails while driving may be the next bill passed into state law.  St. Joe County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak says it's highly likely that this bill will become law.  It was passed unanimously today out of committee and will be presented to the House.  So now, Dvorak and others say it's just a matter of time.

A distracted driver is something South Bend Police Traffic Commander Lt. Steve Goen says he sees all too often. 

"People going to work shaving reading newspapers women putting make up on," said SBPD Traffic Commander Lt. Steve Goen. 

But there's one offense that's caught the eye of the Indiana State House. 

"I'm trying to stop.  I've cut down on doing it but every once in a while," said Schindewolf. 

High School student Annie Schindewolf and Schindewolf says she's guilty of texting while driving.  And soon sending this text message could mean getting a ticket. 

"That will become a class C infraction.  The penalty with that is a $500 fine," said St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak.

It's a new bill St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak says the Indiana State house will likely pass into law; banning texting and sending e-mails while driving.

"If a police officer sees you texting on any electronic device you will be pulled over and ticketed for this offense," said Dvorak.

But it may not be that easy for officers to determine.

"At times it will be difficult to tell if people have their phones down below the window line...it's going to be difficult to see them texting," said Goen.

But Goen says the constant up and down motion of a person's head is a clear sign they're preoccupied.  And he says more alert drivers will mean fewer accidents in Indiana.

"Hopefully with the law it'll make people more aware and realize they need to pay more attention to their driving," said Goen.          

But Schindewolf isn't quite as optimistic. 

"I think they're still gong to do it no matter what.  It might help but they're still going to do it," said Annie Schindewolf. 

Some people I spoke with say this is just Big Brother telling everyone what they can and can't do.  But Officer Goen says its simple math.  He says when the average person texts, you look down for 4 to 5 seconds at a time.  So if you're going 30 miles per hour, you can drive some 300 feet before looking up again.  That's the size of a football field.  And Goen says a lot can happen in what seems like just a short amount of time with your eyes off the road.

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