Indiana Police call for tougher laws on distracted driving

GREENWOOD, IN (FOX19) - Indiana police officers want state lawmakers to beef up a ban on texting while driving so it includes any activity that could take a motorist's attention away from the road.

Deputy Chief Matt Fillenwarth of the Greenwood Police Department says the state needs a law that covers someone applying makeup, surfing the Internet or doing other tasks that take a driver's eyes off the road.

The current law has been in place since June 2011 and officers say it's hard to enforce. Police can't cite drivers for violating the texting ban unless they catch them in the act. Officers can't confiscate a driver's phone to see if they were doing something illicit.

According to the state police, 125 tickets have been written since the texting ban took effect.

Lawmakers acknowledged the texting ban's limitations when they passed it but said it would call attention to the dangerous practice.

In 2012, only one bill addressing cell phone use by drivers was filed. Senate Bill 342, which would have outlawed use of handheld wireless communications devices in work zones. However, SB 342 did not advance.

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