Federal court: Indiana’s texting and driving law is useless

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 24, 2014) - A federal court is taking a stance on Indiana's texting and driving law after throwing out a case where a man was given a ticket while on his phone. The court said Indiana's law is "useless."

In 2014, Indiana State Police Troopers issued 184 citations and handed out 232 warnings for drivers who were caught texting. In 2015, 171 drivers were given a ticket and 300 received warnings. Troopers said the number of warnings is much higher because they're being cautious about handing out tickets, knowing it may not hold up in court.

“I want to be 110 percent certain that I saw a violation and I’m gonna enact on that violation," said ISP Trooper Mike Meinczinger.

Troopers said the law is difficult to enforce. According to state law, drivers can't text or send e-mails, but they can still make calls or look at their phone.

“As I’m driving, I’ll see someone looking down toward their lap, numerous times. Now, I’m assuming their reading a message or their possibly texting, he said.

Trooper Meinczinger said the law makes it hard to prove that someone was texting.

"If I stop somebody, I’ll tell them I stopped you for texting and driving. I can’t forcibly take the phone away from them.”

Other states have laws that cover texting and driving as distracted driving. Trooper Meinczinger said the only way to enforce the law is a hands free code, meaning drivers can't have their cell phones in their hands at all.

“It takes one hand off the wheel, your eyes off the road, and you’re not paying attention to what you need to be paying attention to," he said.

Click here to see a state by state list for texting and driving laws.

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