AAA warns hands-free does not mean risk-free as Iowa distracted driving bill is considered


    OMAHA, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - If some lawmakers get their way in Iowa, you won't be able to touch or hold your phone while driving. This would add to another driving law that was passed just a couple of years ago. That was when texting while driving became a primary offense in Iowa meaning officers could pull you over without needing another reason first.

    "Many states take baby steps in trying to make changes to people's driving habits," said Rose White, a AAA spokesperson in Nebraska.

    In Iowa, lawmakers are now considering a bill that would ban drivers from using a cell phone unless it's in hands-free mode. White says even if it becomes the law of the land in all 50 states drivers need to know hands-free does not mean risk-free.

    "People think just because they're not holding it in their hand they're safe to drive, but that's not the case."

    AAA says its recent study showing people driving with bluetooths and using voice-to-text applications proves that point. The organization says it did not go well.

    "If your mind is not on the task at hand, it opens the door to a distracted driving crash."

    In the Midwest, there are a lot of two-lane only roads and not a lot of room for driver error. White said Friday any kind of distracted driving and that could spell big trouble for you.

    "Just tilting the wheel slightly can easily take you over the center line going head-to-head with another vehicle."

    Numbers from the Iowa State Patrol show how big of a problem distracted driving is in the state. Between 2015 and 2017, there were more than 3,500 crashes. More than 1,800 people were hurt in those.

    "Driving should never be a secondary task when you're behind the wheel."

    White says it's best to turn off your phone while driving. That way you're not tempted to pick it up when you get a call or text message. If you have to leave your phone on, she says you should pick it up once you park in a safe place.

    The bill Iowa lawmakers are considering just recently passed out of subcommittee. It now moves on to a full committee hearing.

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