Legislation Cracks Down on Texting While Driving

Mar 4, 2015

A bill that aims to curtail distracted driving passed out of the Iowa Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday.

The legislation would make the use of a smartphone or similar device a "primary offense," which would allow police officers to pull someone over  just for emailing or texting while driving. The police currently can not do that.

The Transportation Committee’s ranking member, Republican Sen. Tim Kapucian of Keystone, says the greater number of drivers using smartphones and similar devices makes roads increasingly dangerous.

"In my district, I know of one particular case...where there was a fatality as a result of someone that wasn't paying attention to the road based on their electronic device," Kapucian says. "It's going to be hard to enforce, but I think [it's] a message that needs to be sent.    

The bill does allow an exception for using a device in a hands-free or voice-activated mode.

The Transportation Committee in the House is considering a similar measure.