SAU Buzz

New fines for texting and driving in Iowa

by Ashlynn Maczko
Posted on Sep 07, 2017

30 years ago the thought of carrying a mini computer around in your pocket would have seemed like a mere fantasy, something that you would only see in the distant future. But today, it is a reality.

According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 77% of Americans owned a smartphone as of 2016, and 95% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind. While smartphones allow us to access information with the click of a button, or communicate with someone instantly, they don’t always aid us in our day-to-day life.

A new texting and driving law went into effect on July 1, 2017, for the State of Iowa. According to Iowa Legislature Code 321.276, a person shall not use a hand-held electronic communication device to write, send, or read a text message while driving a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is at a complete stop off the travelled portion of the roadway. This also applies to the use of social media apps.

According to Senate File 234, any violations under section 321.276 in Iowa Legislature constitutes a $30 fine. While that fee may seem insignificant, other fines and fees can be added to this measly $30 ticket.

Cell phones can become problematic when people feel they cannot go 20 minutes without checking for updates or text messages. When they hold their phones up on the steering wheel to snapchat or tweet, they can handle it right?

Every time you get behind the wheel, you take your life and someone else’s life into your hands. It’s tempting to fill one of them with a cellphone, but that funny tweet or emoji that your friend sent you will still be there when you arrive at your destination.

It could start as a simple veer into the shoulder or the next lane and it will get your adrenaline rushing and your heart pounding. The next time it may be the same thing. The following time, you may feel that you can multitask. Your eyes barely leave the road right? Only five seconds, right? What could go wrong in five seconds? Though you succeed at texting and driving this time, one day it might become a problem for you.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when driving at 55 mph, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds, long enough to cover a football field.

A lot can change in those five seconds that you cover the length of a football field. You might rear end someone. You could veer out of your lane and hit a street sign or a tree. You may hit a bicyclist that you didn’t see. The list goes on.

Each day approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver, according to the CDC.

You don’t even have to be texting and driving to die or be injured as a result of it. It only takes one person who decides that social media and texting is more important than a life.