School bus helps police catch distracted drivers

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Some Indiana police departments are using school buses to help catch distracted drivers.

Lafayette police say it’s a tough law to enforce. Future legislation could make it easier.

Since it was banned in 2011, how many people have been ticketed for texting and driving?

“Not very many,” said Lafayette Police Sgt. Will Carpenter.

That’s because the law is nearly impossible to enforce.

“We can only work within the confines of the current statutes,” said Carpenter.

Indiana’s texting & driving law only applies to text messaging, not other smart phone functions like a navigation app.

“Often times, it comes down to what we can absolutely prove and say, ‘Yes, I absolutely saw them typing,'” said Carpenter.

Officers in Seymour, Indiana, are getting creative. They’re going undercover on school buses to catch distracted drivers. From the viewpoint police of a bus, police can easily see what you’re doing on your phone.

“I think it’s a neat idea,” said Carpenter. “I don’t see something like that being facilitated here in the near future but we do take other opportunities, such as our traffic safety grants, to put additional officers out on the road, looking specifically for distracted drivers.”

,Lori Wheeler’s friend died because she was texting and driving. She wishes Lafayette police would use the bus technique.

“Cause it’s a good easy way to see whether or not they’re texting and driving,” said Wheeler.

Former State Representative Randy Truitt helped pass Indiana’s texting and driving law. He knew it would be tough to enforce.

“It’s a confusing thing because where do you draw the line?” said Truitt.

He wonders if the state should make holding a phone while driving illegal.

“Yes, that would be a much easier law to enforce,” said Carpenter.

“I think that is something that we are going to have to think about in order to be as safe as possible so we deal with this distraction,” said Truitt.

A bill requiring people to use hands-free devices only while driving died last session. It is uncertain if lawmakers will bring it back up next year.