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Porter County police to target texting while driving violations Thursday
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Porter County police to target texting while driving violations Thursday

Distracted driving FILE [IC

It’s illegal for drivers to hold or use a handheld mobile device while operating a moving vehicle, unless the device is mounted on a dashboard, another surface in their vehicle, or otherwise operated in hands-free mode. Motorists caught holding a phone in a moving vehicle can be fined up to $500 and possibly lose their driver’s license for repeated violations.

Porter County agencies are joining in a nationwide initiative to target texting and distracted driving with increased patrols. 

On Thursday, police will be conducting a 24-hour enforcement campaign called "Connect to Disconnect," according to a news release from the Porter County Traffic Safety Partnership. 

There will be high-visibility patrols throughout the county for the day to enforce laws against distracted driving. A law that prohibits drivers from holding a mobile device while in transit went into effect in July 2020. 

Coming Sunday, see a day in the life of Michigan City Police Officer Brian Wright.

Those who violate the law can receive a Class C infraction and face a fine up to $500. Between July 2020 and March 31, 2021, a total of 2,918 citations and 7,352 warnings have been issued throughout Indiana for holding a mobile device while driving. 

"Everyone knows it's dangerous to text and drive, yet we still see people on their phones behind the wheel every day," said Hebron Chief of Police Josh Noel. "Taking your eyes off the road, even if it's just for a couple of seconds, could end in disaster. If we all do our part, we can put a stop to distracted driving and prevent senseless tragedies from occurring."

Authorities consider anything that takes attention away from the road to be distracted driving, which could include eating, grooming oneself, adjusting the radio and more, police said.

Authorities suggest drivers activate the "do not disturb" feature on phones or placing mobile devices in a place that cannot be accessed while traveling to remove the temptation of distracted driving.  

For more information, individuals can visit www.distraction.gov or handsfree indiana.com

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Porter County Jail

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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts and investigative news. She is a graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology. 219-933-4194, anna.ortiz@nwi.com

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