Plainclothes officers to catch texting drivers in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Plainclothes officers to catch texting drivers in Dubuque

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The Dubuque Police Department has come  up with a unique way to catch drivers texting.

"Some officers will be out in plainclothes in unmarked vehicles, whether parked at intersections, or driving around within the city of Dubuque, and then they will radio or call the violations to the other officers that are in the marked vehicles," said officer Andrew Harden. 

This is because it has been tough to enforce the new text while driving law since it went into effect July 1.

To date, Dubuque officers have only written one citation and one warning ticket for the violation. Statewide more tickets have been written. The Iowa State Patrol says they have written 100 citations.

"It has been tough for us to enforce it because it's hard for us to pay attention to what's going on, on the roadway and what's going on around us, but to also see the violations occur," Harden said. "Most people when they see us in our marked vehicle they have a tendency to put the cell phone down."

Officers say once they are out of sight, they know drivers begin texting again. 

The department has not started this enforcement yet, but will later this month or in the fall. 

If you get a text while driving ticket, it could cost you about $100 dollars. The scheduled fine is $30,  plus a surcharge fee of $10.50, and a court cost fee of $60, making the total cost of the offense $100.50. 

For a driver with a graduated drivers license or a minor school license, the fine is $50, with surcharge of $17.50 and court cost of $60, making the total costs for a ticket $127.50. 

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