More than 15K citations were given during the first year of Indiana’s hands-free law

INDIANA — Indiana motorists caught using handheld cellphones while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle now face increased penalties for breaking state law.

The hands-free law still allows drivers to use their phone as long as it’s hands-free or using voice-operated technology. You can also hold your phone to report an emergency to 911.

A law banning drivers’ cellphone use to combat distracted driving took effect in July 2020, allowing tickets of up to $500 against violators but it delayed by a year any state Bureau of Motor Vehicles points toward a driver’s license suspension.

More than 15,000 tickets and citations were handed out during the law’s first year.

The BMV says such violations will now result in four points against a driver’s license.

License suspensions start once a driver has accumulated 20 points within a two-year period.

Drivers also face additional points for speeding in school or construction zones.