Sadly, despite multiple accidents attributed to texting while driving, the incidences of distracted driving have not decreased. In fact, statistics suggest that the problem is getting worse. In the state of Iowa, more than a thousand crashes were caused by distracted driving in 2015, hundreds more than the year before. Fourteen fatalities and 601 injuries in 2015 represent nearly double the 2014 figures for both.
Part of the problem may be that Iowa lags behind other states in passing stricter laws on the use of electronic devices while driving. As it stands, law enforcement officers are not empowered to stop drivers they observe texting unless they have been pulled over for a separate violation. If drivers are ticketed, the fines are modest which does little to deter the behavior.
Many Iowans and lawmakers agree that Iowa needs tougher laws prohibiting drivers from texting while driving, but how to proceed is not clear. Some have called for a law making texting and driving a primary offense, which would come with stiffer penalties. Others argue for going as far as mandating hands-free devices because, without them, it is next to impossible for an officer to discern whether a driver is texting, talking on a cell phone or using a GPS device and, as a consequence, law enforcement will be given too much discretion to pull over any driver for any reason.
Until an effective plan is in place to curb texting while driving, motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists are at risk. Raising awareness regarding the sometimes devastating consequences of texting and driving in Iowa communities will keep our roads safer.
If you or a family member has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the personal injury law offices of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for help today.