Dubuque cell phone ban takes effect Friday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque cell phone ban takes effect Friday

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- We knew it was coming, but that doesn't make it any easier for drivers who can't stay off their phones. Monday night Dubuque City Leaders passed a cell phone ban. But how will it be enforced? Especially when a lot of people on city roads are from out of state.

Calvin Yoder lives in Hazelton but it's not uncommon to find him here, along Highway 20 driving through Dubuque.

"Right now I'm working in Wisconsin on my uncles house," said Yoder.

He admits to using his cell phone on the road.

"I used to do it a lot but I don't' do it as much as I used to," said Yoder.

But once he gets into city traffic, he stays off his phone, but that's not the case for most drivers.

"Anytime you're taking your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, do so anything, it increases the likelihood of you being in a crash or a near crash event," said Lt. Scott Baxter.

It's a hot topic that's got lawmakers looking into combating the problem. A proposed Iowa law could make it illegal for you to text while driving, but Dubuque's city ordinance takes it a step further, making it illegal to talk on the phone too. Of course, if a law passes in Des Moines, it would trump Dubuque's ordinance. But for now, the rules takes effect Friday.

"We plan on giving a 30 day grace period to allow motorist to familiarize themselves with the law, break old habits of talking and texting while driving," said Baxter.

For the first 30 days drivers will receive a warning. After that, it's a $50 fine, $250 if it results in an accident

As for out of towners like Yoder, the city will place signs on all major roadways into Dubuque. A small reminder about a big decision on safety.

"It's like the seat belt signs, people see that and then they think about it more," said Yoder.

If an officer needs to prove a driver was using their cell phone, they'll request records from the cell phone company.

The new cell phone ban doesn't include calls for emergencies. Or the use of cell phones in emergency vehicles. Hands free devices are also allowed.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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