Light-wiper bill passes Indiana House

| 3/7/2007

A bill that would mandate a practice that is second nature to many professional truckers and other motorists is halfway through the Indiana General Assembly.

The House voted 51-42 to approve a measure that would allow police to ticket drivers who fail to flip on their headlights when precipitation is flying. Its next stop is the state Senate.

"It is simply a requirement that promotes safe driving," Rep. Bill Friend, R-Macy, said in a written statement.

Friend's bill would require lights to be on whenever visibility is limited. The measure defines that as any time "when due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet ahead."

The bill would make it a secondary offense to drive without lights on during weather - meaning a person would have to be pulled over for another violation, such as speeding, before they could be ticketed for talking on the phone.

Violators would face up to $25 fines. Offenses wouldn't count against driving records or insurance rates.

The bill - HB1269 - is in the Senate Corrections, Criminal and Civil Matters Committee.