Statewide texting ban would nullify Dubuque's cell phone ordinance - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Statewide texting ban would nullify Dubuque's cell phone ordinance

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- As the statewide texting ban continues to move through the legislature, city leaders in Dubuque are looking at the possibility of having to take their cell phone ordinance off the books.

According to Dubuque City Attorney, Barry Lindahl, one section of the bill, House File 2456, is the reason they would have to take their ordinance off the books.

It reads, "The provisions of this section shall be implemented uniformly throughout the state. The provisions of this section shall preempt any local county or municipal ordinance regarding the use of an electronic communication device by a motor vehicle operator. In addition, a county or municipality shall not adopt or continue in effect an ordinance regarding the use of an electronic communication device by a motor vehicle operator".

Lindahl believes that the state law doesn't go far enough to stop the problem and believes the city would have to remove all of the road signs they have made and put in place alerting drivers to Dubuque's ordinance.

Dubuque City Council member Ric Jones says, "The bottom line is that, assuming the House and Senate agree on the components of the Bill and the Governor signs off on it, Dubuquers will be safer than if nothing had happened."

The Senate approved the ban on texting, which included an amendment that would ban reading text messages as well as sending them, by a 44-6 vote on Wednesday.

The measure will return to the House for further debate.

If passed, the law would go into effect on July 1, 2010 and would also prohibit instant messaging and e-mailing while driving.

Tickets would not be issued for the first year, but after that, anyone caught would face a $30 fine.

The fine would be $500 if the violation leads to an accident causing serious injury or $1,000 if the violation leads to an accident causing death.  The violators license could also be suspended.

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