New Indiana laws ban drivers holding phones, hike marriage age

Other new laws include tougher penalties on stores for selling smoking or vaping products to anyone younger than 21 years old, and a requirement that anyone younger than 18 obtain a judge’s permission before getting married.

Posted: Jun 30, 2020 3:44 PM
Updated: Jul 1, 2020 9:13 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Using a handheld cellphone while driving will become illegal on Indiana roads under a new state law taking effect this week.

The move aimed at combating distracted driving was among numerous laws going onto the books Wednesday after being approved by the state Legislature this year.

Other new laws include tougher penalties on stores for selling smoking or vaping products to anyone younger than 21 years old, and a requirement that anyone younger than 18 obtain a judge’s permission before getting married.

CELLPHONE BAN

Indiana is joining more than 20 other states in prohibiting drivers from holding or using a handheld mobile device while operating a moving vehicle.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb encouraged legislators to approve the ban, arguing that distracted driving increases the risk of a crash by more than 3½ times.

It was to blame in at least 860 injury crashes and 48 crashes with deaths across Indiana last year, according to state police.

The new law allows cellphone use by drivers only with hands-free or voice-operated technology, except in emergencies. It broadens a previous state ban on texting while driving that officials found unenforceable and didn’t ban actions such as emailing or using Snapchat, Twitter and other apps.

Violators can be fined up to $500 and they could lose their driver’s license for repeat violations.

But motorists who are ticketed before July 1, 2021, will not receive points on their license, which can lead to license suspension.

CIGARETTE SALES

A new law doubles the fines stores can face for selling tobacco or vaping products to anyone younger than 21 years old.

The penalties, which were last increased a decade ago, will grow until a third violation within a year would carry a maximum $2,000 fine.

Supporters said the tougher penalties will help reduce Indiana’s high smoking rates by making it more difficult for youths to obtain tobacco-related items such as cigarettes or e-cigarette liquids.

The additional penalties were part of a bill increasing Indiana’s minimum age for smoking and vaping from 18 to 21 to conform with a new federal law.

But the Republican-sponsored measure didn’t include any additional taxes on cigarettes or regulations on vaping liquids as sought by health advocates.

Indiana’s 21.8% smoking rate among adults was the 7th highest in the country for 2017, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MARRIAGE AGE

Indiana’s new marriage age law replaces the previous law allowing those as young as 15 to marry if they have parental consent.

The new law only allows 16- or 17-year-olds to marry someone no more than four years older after obtaining approval from a juvenile court judge.

Legislators heard during a committee meeting from women who were 15 or 16 when their parents forced them to marry men who had raped or molested them and then faced more abuse before being able to escape the relationship.

Republican Rep. Karen Engleman of Georgetown, the law’s sponsor, cited concerns that girls who marry before 18 are at greater risk of becoming victims of sexual and domestic violence, along with higher poverty and high school dropout rates.

GASOLINE TAX HIKE

The state gasoline tax will go up by a penny to 31 cents per gallon on Wednesday.

That is the maximum increase allowed under a 2017 law under which the tax was increased by 18 cents a gallon to 28 cents to help pay for road projects.

The tax has gone up automatically each year since then as an inflationary adjustment.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 75862

Reported Deaths: 3069
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16088730
Lake7688278
Elkhart492685
Allen4002163
St. Joseph357883
Hamilton2829104
Vanderburgh202213
Hendricks1927108
Cass18029
Johnson1789119
Porter135539
Clark128749
Tippecanoe123811
Madison100665
LaPorte93130
Howard91365
Kosciusko86812
Bartholomew81747
Floyd80948
Marshall79323
Monroe76631
Delaware74552
Dubois70812
Vigo69911
Noble68829
Boone68746
Hancock68339
Jackson5965
Warrick58830
Shelby56527
LaGrange56310
Grant52930
Dearborn51228
Morgan49334
Clinton4444
Henry40620
Wayne38510
White37611
Montgomery35921
Lawrence35227
Harrison34823
Decatur34132
Putnam3128
Daviess27720
Miami2772
Scott27210
Jasper2552
Greene25434
Franklin24615
DeKalb2384
Gibson2314
Jennings22712
Steuben2133
Ripley2138
Carroll1962
Fayette1947
Perry18713
Posey1790
Starke1787
Wells1742
Orange17424
Fulton1722
Wabash1703
Jefferson1672
Knox1610
Whitley1556
Tipton14312
Washington1421
Sullivan1381
Spencer1373
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1244
Newton12010
Adams1092
Owen991
Jay920
Rush854
Pulaski811
Fountain742
Brown741
Blackford652
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike590
Vermillion580
Switzerland530
Parke511
Martin480
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 102826

Reported Deaths: 3708
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18697529
Cuyahoga13734505
Hamilton9766257
Lucas5448326
Montgomery443896
Summit3614223
Butler297663
Marion293545
Mahoning2595255
Pickaway239142
Stark1884140
Warren182139
Lorain181377
Columbiana167160
Trumbull1549108
Fairfield141632
Delaware134419
Licking131951
Clark117815
Lake113141
Wood106858
Clermont95311
Medina94535
Miami85839
Tuscarawas79314
Portage77163
Allen76946
Greene71812
Mercer63113
Belmont62326
Richland61412
Erie59728
Ashtabula57646
Geauga55944
Wayne54558
Ross4944
Darke40629
Huron4045
Madison40110
Ottawa39626
Sandusky39017
Hancock3893
Athens3602
Holmes3286
Lawrence3000
Auglaize2636
Union2601
Muskingum2431
Scioto2421
Jefferson2373
Seneca2283
Knox2127
Putnam21117
Shelby2104
Washington20922
Preble2072
Coshocton1967
Champaign1812
Morrow1762
Crawford1755
Hardin17012
Clinton1696
Highland1661
Logan1602
Ashland1543
Fulton1531
Wyandot1509
Defiance1504
Brown1462
Perry1403
Williams1363
Henry1222
Fayette1210
Guernsey1197
Hocking1189
Carroll1135
Monroe9418
Pike790
Jackson760
Van Wert732
Paulding700
Gallia701
Adams612
Meigs540
Vinton322
Morgan300
Harrison261
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 64°
Angola
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 59°
Huntington
Few Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 66°
Decatur
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 61°
Van Wert
61° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 61°
Mostly Sunny Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events