Questions raised about county-wide cell phone ban - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Questions raised about county-wide cell phone ban

by John Wilmer

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- One Iowa County is looking to ban people from using cell phones while driving, which would be a first for the state of Iowa. The Marshall County Board of Supervisors has said that if the state doesn't act, they will.

The Marshall County Sheriff says he is not in favor of just a county wide ban because it would be too time consuming as well as too costly to enforce.

Local police agencies we talked to say there would be a limited number of officers and deputies to enforce a county wide ban,  making the ordinance less effective.

"I mean talking on your cell phone if it is a quick conversation just to get something across no problem, but yeah as far as talking on the cell phone for half an hour on a trip isn't cool especially if you have passengers in your vehicle," said driver Luke Rathe.

"I know for a fact we have worked accidents where the driver was distracted because they were either talking or texting," said Captain John Beckman of the Waterloo Police Department.

Beckman agrees and says a county wide ban would be difficult to enforce.

"You would be limited to the law enforcement personnel in that county to enforce that particular ordinance and that would only be applicable within that county. If it was something that was at the state level throughout the state legislature you would have a lot more law enforcement personnel available," said Beckman.

For some drivers, they say a ban would make roads safer, but there is an even greater problem when it comes to wireless devices.

"I don't see too many people going by the rule, but it would help with the accidents. The thing that really gets me is people who text when they drive that's the big no, no," said

Captain Beckman says hands free devices are just as distracting to a driver as holding a phone up to your ear because it is still interactive and not a passive activity like listening to the radio.

Six states already have a law in place banning drivers from using their cell phones. They include California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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