Iowa House panel passes bill to toughen texting and driving law

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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.