Laws Against Texting And Driving In Iowa Aren't Reducing Crashes - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Laws Against Texting And Driving In Iowa Aren't Reducing Crashes

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Since 2011, texting and driving in Iowa has been illegal.

But numbers show the law hasn't reduced the number of crashes each year. In fact, they've gone up since the law was enacted.

Lawmakers say the laws are too weak and police officers say it's too hard to enforce.

One man's horrific accident made him decide he would never text and drive again...

"I was on highway 52 and texting my father and I looked up and I was in the ditch and I couldn't control it, I hit a tree and another tree," said 25 year old Joshua Harpole.

He said he went through his windshield and was air lifted to Iowa City, a year ago.

The text that caused the accident? He was telling his dad he was on his way home.

"My head was lacerated all the way down to my skull and very close to lacerating into my brain," said Harpole. "Ribs and abdomen were very sore."

He said he's thankful his best friend wasn't in the passenger seat, like he was supposed to be.

"I see people driving with children in the car and I know what it can do," said Harpole. "I shake my head and hope for the best and hope people get the message."

But in Iowa, texting and driving is only a secondary offense, meaning you can't get pulled over just for that reason.

"Our law that we passed is pretty weak," said State Senator Tod Bowman. "It doesn't allow really for any kind of enforcement process, except for teenagers."

State Senator Bowman says he sponsored a bill that would make texting and driving a primary offense, that didn't pass the house.

But drivers said they're are in favor of stricter rules.

"I know people want to communicate, but is someone's life not worth it?" said driver Camille Pettee.

"You would be taking your eyes off the road for 5, 6 seconds and you could veer off into a different lane while doing that," said 18 year old student driver Jillian Linhart.

The Scott County Sheriff's Office said the current law is hard to enforce.

"You see something you should be able to stop and discuss with someone what you witnessed," said Chief Deputy for the Scott County Sheriff's Office Major Mike Brown. "So having that being a secondary reason for stop, they should eliminate that and make it a primary stop."

Something Major Brown said people need to talk about more and adjust how they drive.

Joshua Harpole said he learned that lesson.

"No text is worth it," said Harpole. "There's not one that's worth it"

The Iowa Department of Transportation said in almost three years, just over 500 tickets have been issued for texting and driving, state-wide.

They're also developing an app for smart phones that can disable texting and calling when your car is going over 15 mph.

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