On July 1, 2017, Iowa's distracted driving law became a primary law, meaning that a law enforcement officer can stop any driver who is texting (reading, writing, or sending) or using any other portable electronic device, unless the motor vehicle is at a complete stop and off the traveled portion of the roadway. Previously, drivers 18 years or older had to break another traffic law before they could be stopped by a law enforcement officer.
Sounds good, right? While there are penalties for distracted driving generally costing offenders $100.50 in fines and surcharges, it isn’t considered a moving violation. If injuries or deaths are caused by distracted driving, penalties are more harsh. That being said, it is difficult for law officers to enforce. Currently, Iowa law permits most motorists to make and receive calls and talk on the phone while driving. How many of us have witnessed someone crossing the center line or failing to stop at a red light while talking on the phone?
This is dangerous not only for other drivers of cars and trucks, but we are also concerned for bicyclists and those driving farming equipment.
You can join us in our quest to save Iowans’ lives by contacting your state legislators. They will begin the 2021 legislative session in early January, and we are hopeful that they will look at the current law and improve it for the safety for all.