New Indiana Laws Effective July 1

By Laura Donaldson

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 30, 2009 at 6:38 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - More than 180,000 Hoosiers won't be allowed to use their cell phones while driving Wednesday according to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

A new state law, effective July 1st, prohibits anyone under the age of 18 to text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.

“This law is going to help save lives,” said Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Ron Galaviz. “It's going to help reduce the number of injuries and the number of distracted driving crashes that we see on our roadways. And any effort that we have to make our roadways safer, for you for me for anybody, it's a step in the right direction.”

A recent AAA study found texting while driving increases the risk of being involved in an accident by 50-percent.

Sgt. Galaviz this law intends to lower the number of teen deaths and injuries resulting from car accidents.

In addition to the cell phone law teens won't be allowed to drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for six months after they get their license.

Teens also have to wait longer to drive with friends in the car.

Before teens had to wait 90 days after getting their license to have a passenger under the age of 21, now they have to wait 180 days, to have a passenger under the age of 25.

The new law also states once a passenger is allowed in the car, they can't use speakerphone while a teen is driving.

“If their passenger has that phone flipped open on speaker phone which allows that driver to communicate with that person on the other end, it's still a violation of state law,” said Sgt. Galaviz. “And they could face a $500 fined and court costs depending on which county they're cited in.”

It is illegal for teens to use hands free headset devices to talk on cell phones while driving as well.

Governor Daniels signed about 180 laws passed by the General Assembly during the 2009 session. Here are a few of the laws that could affect you.

The Internet voter registration law: This law allows Hoosiers with driver’s licenses to register or update their voter information online.

The Puppy Mill Law: This law requires commercial dog breeders to register with the state and toughens penalties for animal abuse or neglect.

The school bus driver law: This law imposes a $500 fine if school bus drivers don't check for students still on the bus at the end of each route.

The fetal homicide law: This law increases the prison term for anyone who murders or attempts to murder a pregnant woman and causes the loss of her unborn child.

The Foreclosure Law: It requires mediation between homeowners and lenders before a foreclosure is approved.

The safe cigarettes law: All smokers in Indiana will now purchase fire safe cigarettes. They are identified by an FSC above the bar code.

Less citrate-burning agents and bands on the paper that are less porous require smokers to continue inhaling to keep the burn going. The fire safe cigarettes eventually go out if left unattended.

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