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Iowa Lawmakers Pushing for Crack Down on Texting And Driving

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By: Leah Uko

DES MOINES, IA (KPTM) – Texting and driving is one step closer to becoming illegal in Iowa.

On Tuesday, the Iowa Senate passed a bill in a 41-7 vote to make texting while a car is moving a primary offense. Now the bill has to go to the House.

Currently texting and driving in Iowa is a secondary offense, meaning police can only enforce the law when pulling a driver over for a different violation. The bill would make the offense a moving violation, meaning police could stop a person for texting and driving without any other reason.

"It's something that we want," said Sgt. Jason Bailey with Council Bluffs Police Department. "Having that secondary law just made it tough for us to enforce—made it significantly tougher for us to enforce."

Sgt. Bailey sees texting and driving occur every day working in the Traffic Unit.

"You'll pull up next to somebody and you'll see them on the phone and they don't put it down because they are distracted," Bailey continued. "They don't even realize that a police officer is beside them."

If passed, cited drivers would be given a $30 fine.

Matt Stout admitted he occasionally texted behind the wheel, but $30 was just enough to make him stop.

"If it stops an accident I suppose it's not a bad idea," Stout continued. "Anything that you got to pay for something that you shouldn't be doing anyway is too much so."

Lawmakers also considered making texting while at a red light, stop sign or anytime a car is not moving on the road a violation.

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