Texting and driving in Iowa could land you a ticket

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A Maquoketa lawmaker is making an effort to get drivers to get their eyes off their phones and on the roads.

According to the Iowa Legislature, Senate File 2289 was approved by the Iowa Senate 41-7 on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

The bill expands a current ban on texting and driving to include any electronic message, not just a text. This could be an instant message, email, or activity on an internet site.

Senator Tod Bowman from Maquoketa has been assigned as the Senate Floor Manager for the bill. KCRG reported that Bowman wanted texting and driving to be a primary offense, which means a driver could be pulled over if they are suspected of texting and driving. Under Senate File 2289, anyone sending or receiving electronic messages could get a moving violation and a $30 ticket.

“We have an epidemic of texting while driving,” Bowman said, according to KCRG.

According to the legislation, drivers can only read or compose a message if their vehicle is at a complete stop and off the “traveled portion” of a roadway. Using a GPS and making phone calls are not included in the ban. Voice-operated or hands-free phones are also not included in the ban.