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Board sets February referendum date

As others see it: Take new texting law further

An Iowa law banning texting while driving is closer to becoming a reality. Last week, the Iowa Senate voted 44-6 to approve Iowa House file 2456. The Senate modified the House bill to include the reading of texts within the ban. The Iowa House bill passed on a 65-31 vote. ...

The framework of the law is thus: While drivers in Iowa can dial and talk on phones while behind the wheel, it would be illegal to read, write or send a text, instant message or e-mail. Drivers found in violation would get a warning for the first year of the law; a $30 misdemeanor citation after the years grace period is over.

The reasoning behind the proposal is sound. We think texting while driving is dangerous. Some safety experts go so far as to equate texting and driving with drinking and driving. ...

If this amended bill passes it will have positive benefits. Some people will stop their texting habits because to do otherwise would be illegal. Even so, how will police will be able to consistently enforce this law? How are they supposed to discern the difference between texting and talking, sometimes while behind the wheel themselves?

Do you have frequently called numbers set up in an easy-access contact list, or do you punch in the digits each time you make a call? One action looks exactly like the other. We're just not sure police can make this judgement.

A more effective plan would be to ban all forms of cell phone use while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. ...

Mason City (Iowa) Globe Gazette