A proposed law that would require all drivers to use hands-free electronic communication devices won’t become law during this year’s General Assembly session, but that doesn’t deter a Columbus representative.
State Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, is promising to reintroduce the measure next year.
Introduced on Jan. 10, House Bill 1255 was sent to the House Committee on Roads and Transportation. However, committee chairman Ed Solliday, R-Valparaiso, did not schedule a committee hearing on the bill before the Feb. 21 deadline.
More than a month after the bill died, Smith held a statehouse press conference last week announcing he will make his third consecutive effort to get the measure passed during the 2018 General Assembly session.
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Appearing alongside of Smith was Jill Biddle, who lost her daughter, 17-year-old Maria Droesch, in a Clinton County crash. Investigators say Droesch veered into oncoming traffic while texting and driving and died after striking an oncoming pickup truck.
When Biddle appeared alongside Smith, she also brought the wreckage of her daughter’s car. Biddle uses her late daughter’s wrecked car to send a message that distracted driving can be a life-altering decision.
“She was texting her mother to tell her she’d be home in 10 minutes,” Smith said during Monday’s Third House legislative session. “I don’t think any of us are in such a hurry that we need to use our cellphones unless we do it hands-free.”
It’s been about four years since Indiana banned texting and driving, but Smith and Biddle want Indiana to become the 15th state to completely ban using hand-held devises while driving.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reported that 10 percent of teens involved in fatal accidents were distracted at the time of the crash.