In 2011, Indiana joined the legions of States that made texting while driving illegal. Indiana Code 9-21-8-59 bans drivers from using a telecommunications device to type a text message or an email, transmit a text message or an email, or read a text message or an email. Excepted from the law is using the device in conjunction with hands-free or voice-operated technology, or to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency.
However, absent exceptional circumstances, the law also restricts police from confiscating cell phones and determining if the driver had been using it. Police cannot use the law to confiscate a phone and keep it as evidence or to extract or download information from the phone.
Although criminal enforcement of anti-texting laws is rare, when a car crash occurs as a result of texting, there may be civil remedies available to deter such conduct. Punitive damages developed under the law as a means of deterring particularly bad conduct.