We're all guilty of it, and yet we still do it. Text while driving. Even though we know we shouldn't, the sweet siren sound of that text message notification can just be too much to ignore. Who sent it? What do they want? I need to respond right now so they don't think I'm ignoring them! I get it. I do it too. We justify it by telling ourselves it only takes a second or two to read the message, and as long as we glance up every so often to see what's in front of us, we're good. The Evansville Police Department knows we do it too, and in recognition of April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month, they've joined forces with the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute for a 24-hour campaign called "Connect to Disconnect" to remind all of us that text or call can wait.

The Department will be one of many law enforcement agencies across the state who will be increasing patrols on Thursday, April 8th (2021) in an effort to remind us all to keep our focus on the road in front of us. According to a press release provided by the Department and shared on their Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, patrol officers won't be hiding around corners or over hills like they will sometimes do to catch speeders. Instead, those officers will be "conducting high-visibility patrols," meaning they want you to see them to help you remember to keep your hands on the wheel and not on your phone.

It's important to remember that as of last summer, using a phone or other mobile device while driving in the state of Indiana is now illegal thanks to the passing of the state's Hands-Free Law. Violating the law could result in a Class C infraction and bring with it a fine of $500. In my opinion, no text is worth $500.

With that said, the law does allow you to use your phone while driving IF it's connected through Bluetooth, or if your car is compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto that allows you to answer a call with a push of a button on the steering wheel or respond to a text using voice-to-text. If neither of those are an option for you, a passenger can be your personal secretary and respond for you.

Your best bet is to just wait. If you just can't do that, find a parking lot to pull into where you can throw your car in park and not put yourself, or anyone else in danger.

[Source: Evansville Police Department]

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