Distracted driving month highlights texting while driving dangers
Written by Nikki Newbrough, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
Texting and driving continues to claim lives, with more than three thousand people killed in 2012 according to the Iowa State Patrol. April is distracted driving awareness month.
Jonathan Gerzema with the Cedar Falls Police Department has been in law enforcement for about two and a half years. He says cell phones continue to be the biggest distraction for drivers.
"By the time we get to an accident it's hard for us to determine exactly what caused it and a lot of people aren't forth coming to say yeah I was texting or on my phone, when I got to the accident. But yeah we've been involved in accidents where we determined that is the cause," said Gerzema.
Right now, texting and driving is a secondary offense, which means officer's can't pull you over unless you're breaking another law.
Democratic Senator Tod Bowman of Maquoketa sponsored a bill in congress that would make texting and driving a primary offense. The bill died in the house. Bowman says it didn't have enough time to be debated.
Now he's proposing to amend a budget bill to get more money for distracted driving education.
"That basically required the Department of Transportation to fund two hundred thousand dollars of it's administrative dollars to establish educational programs to foster public awareness about the dangers and consequences of driving while distracted," said Bowman.
Senator Bowman says he plans to bring the texting and driving bill up again next year.
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