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Anti-distraction measures to be added to patrol vehicles

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Officers have laptops available to them inside their patrol vehicles, but the Iowa Department of Transportation said they can also be distracting.

To remove the distraction, the Iowa DOT is installing a new piece of software into the vehicles that disables the computer while vehicles are moving at a certain speed. The software is called Arch Angel.

“Distracted driving can contribute to crashes and other traffic problems, such as sudden stops, departing from your lane, and inconsistent speeds,” said MVE Chief Dave Lorenzen. “As a law enforcement agency, it is our duty to not only enforce laws related to those issues and be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

According to a spokesperson from the department, Arch Angel monitors the speed of the patrol vehicle. When the car’s speeds reach or go over 15 mph, the software automatically locks the key board, mouse, and touch screen on the computer.

While in motion, computers can still run applications, to ensure officer locations are maintained. Officers also can use one keystroke to call for help, and they can view a statewide map showing the location of the emergency they are responding to and where other officers are positioned.

Once vehicle speeds fall below 15 mph, the computer is again available for use.

Software installation and training is expected to be complete by November 1, 2013.

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