GREENSBURG – Operating a motor vehicle and a personal electronics device at the same time can get you in trouble.
House Bill 1340 amended previous laws governing driving safely and defined which personal electronic devices are prohibited while driving.
The statute specifies these devices are illegal to use while driving: Any broadband personal communications device, a gaming system or device capable of displaying games, a laptop or tablet computer with mobile data access, a pager or two-way messaging device, and a personal digital assistant.
As of July 1, wireless telephone use while driving is prohibited for anyone under the age of 21, and texting while driving is illegal for anyone of any age.
"Texting while driving is illegal for everyone, that's the law," Greensburg Chief of Police Brendan Bridges said. "The problem we run into is that we have a difficult time enforcing that law. Certain activities that are considered to be hands-free – like searching Facebook or searching a news website – those are still legal while driving."
"If we stop you for what we think is texting, we have to present a search warrant to dig through your phone to see what you were actually doing," Bridges continued. "And we can't just ask you to hand over your phone for an infraction. Only when there's a case of bodily or physical damage are drivers required to submit their cell phone and its records as evidence, so we have a difficult time enforcing those laws involving cell phone usage."
The chief added that when dealing with drivers under the age of 21 enforcement is easier because they are completely prohibited from holding a cell phone or similar device while driving.
Anyone caught violating the law, regardless of their age, is guilty of a Class C infraction, according to Bridges.
"It's like getting a ticket. ... The dollar amount varies by county," he said.
Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext. 7011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org