Iowa state senator supports legislation to limit distracted driving

Distracted driving bill would attempt to lower accident rates, limit auto insurance claims

Distracted driving can lead to accidents and auto insurance claims, so an Iowa state senator is working to punish drivers whose distractions lead to irresponsible driving.

Senator Steve Sodders, a Democrat from State Center, plans to introduce a bill that would make distracted driving a secondary offense, the Marshalltown) Times-Republican reports. For example, drivers crossing the center line while talking on a phone could be cited for two separate offenses.

Sodders' bill would amend the current law, where the penalties for reckless driving are limited. A distracted driver who kills someone accidentally can only be cited for failure to maintain control of her vehicle. But if that driver was drunk, she could be sent to jail for up to 25 years.

Sodders hopes to make drivers more responsible for their actions and discourage habits like talking or texting while driving. His bill would equate distracted driving to operating while impaired, meaning that texting behind the wheel could become a felony-level offense.

Nineteen states have introduced distracted driving legislation in a bid to make the roads safer and reduce auto insurance claims.

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Posted: November 24, 2009

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