Iowa texting ban takes effect on July 1SIBLEY, Iowa — A new Iowa law that will restrict cell phone use while driving will take effect July 1.
SIBLEY, Iowa — A new Iowa law that will restrict cell phone use while driving will take effect July 1.
The legislation, signed into law by Gov. Chet Culver earlier this year, prohibits drivers with an instruction permit, restricted license or intermediate license — predominantly teenagers — from using a cell phone at all while driving. The second part of the law prohibits all drivers from writing, sending or reading text messages unless the vehicle is pulled off of the road.
“Distracted driving is a serious danger on Iowa’s roads,” Culver said in a news release. “This law will be an important tool for law enforcement in keeping the roads safe. It’s a common-sense, bipartisan bill that will save lives, and keep Iowa drivers safe — especially our young people.”
The new legislation still permits the following: using a GPS device, dialing a phone number, turning a phone on or off and reading texts concerning emergency, traffic or weather alerts.
“I think it’s the greatest law in the world,” said Doyle Naig, owner of Naig School of Driving in Sibley. “We talk about it almost daily: ninety-nine percent of accidents are human error and 99 percent of those are simply from people being distracted.”
He said the teenagers he instructs talk on their cell phones and send text messages while driving; they’re especially adept at texting because it is a way to communicate undetected while in school.
Scott Peterson, the chief deputy in the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office, said distracted driving caused by cell phone use is and has been a problem.
“It’s a problem more with younger people than with adults, but it’s hard to determine what you’ve got going on (in the car) just from a glance. I think you’d have to have some clear-cut evidence that it was going on,” he said. “It’s going to take education for law enforcement and the public both.”
Law enforcement officers will only issue warnings during the first year to allow for driver education and adjustment.