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Iowa House panel OKs bill to toughen texting and driving law

Also banned while driving would be using social media and gaming while driving.
Texting and driving

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A House panel has approved a bill that would toughen Iowa’s regulations for texting and driving.

A subcommittee of the House Transportation Committee unanimously agreed Monday to support the legislation. It’s now eligible for a full committee vote.

The bill would allow a law enforcement officer to pull over a driver specifically for texting. It’s a secondary offense under current law, meaning an officer must have another reason to initiate a traffic stop.

The law now prohibits drivers operating a vehicle from using a cellphone or other hand-held electronic communication device to write, send or read a text message. The bill would expand those rules to include use of social media, games and internet sites.

The Senate passed the bill 43-6 this month, an indication of bipartisan support.

Texting and driving has been cited by Iowa law enforcement officials as one of the major reasons traffic fatalities continue to increase in the Hawkeye state. Traffic fatalities grew from 108 in 2015 to more than 145 in 2016.

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