Mar 31, 2023 - News

Iowa law enforcement set to crack down on texting and driving

 Illustration of skull decoration hanging from a car’s rear view mirror.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Distracted driving deaths rose year-over-year in Iowa.

By the numbers: In 2022, distracted and inattentive drivers caused accidents that resulted in 20 deaths across the state, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  • There were 11 such deaths in 2021.

The big picture: During the pandemic, riskier driving behaviors increased, such as speeding, despite fewer cars on the road.

  • April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Iowa Department of Public Safety is increasing law enforcement presence next week to cite drivers who are texting.

State of play: State legislation totally banning the use of handheld devices while driving is gaining momentum this session, the Gazette reports.

  • Because only texting and driving is illegal, Iowa motorists are still allowed to use their phones for other reasons, such as using the GPS or making phone calls.

Zoom in: Last year, a cyclist in Floyd County was killed by a driver who was looking down at his phone for nearly 10 seconds.

  • Though he admitted to using his phone — there was no criminal conviction, the Charles City Press reports.

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