Iowa Lawmakers Pushing for Crack Down on Texting And Driving

By: Leah Uko

DES MOINES, IA (KPTM) - Texting and driving is one step closerto becoming illegal in Iowa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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