Stricter ban on texting while driving gains momentum in Iowa Sen - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Stricter ban on texting while driving gains momentum in Iowa Senate

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Stricter laws against texting while driving may become a reality for Iowa drivers. A bill aiming to make texting while driving a primary offense is gaining support in the Senate.

Currently, texting while driving is only a secondary offense, meaning an officer can't technically pull you over just for being on your cell phone. There would need to be an initial reason to stop you like speeding, but now that could change. 

Dramatic accidents show how dangerous texting while driving could turn. 

Just last week, a truck driver traveling a Florida interstate was caught on camera texting and driving. As he was traveling on the overpass, he lost control, flipping off the overpass, slamming right onto the interstate below him. 

The potential for danger starts right when a driver picks up their cell phone. 

"I really think that you can just wait five minutes to send your text so you don't end up killing someone," said Ben Carlile. "I don't think it's that hard to wait."

The Iowa State Patrol blames the high amount of driving deaths to distracted driving. In 2016 alone, there were 403 traffic-related deaths, making it the highest number in a five year comparison.

Senators are taking note, discussing a bill that would allow officers to stop all drivers who they see texting. However, with the accessibility to a number of distractions at the hands of a driver's fingertips, many are asking for a wider ban. The wider ban being discussed would mean designing a law that would penalize any driver with a cell phone in their hands. 

Many drivers stand behind stricter texting while driving laws. 

"You see a lot of people just on their phones, buried on their phones either playing a game or texting," said Garrett Haag. "They may be sitting at a stoplight, and not even pay attention that it's changed."

 "Definitely tempted, but you know I have a two-year old son now so i'm definitely more cognizant of that and more cautious when I'm driving," said John Barkhurst.

As of right now, the bill has only passed a sub-committee. 

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