Iowa’s new texting while driving law starts Saturday

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – It will be much easier in Iowa to get caught texting and driving starting Saturday.

Iowa’s new distracted driving law effective Saturday, July 1, makes texting and driving a primary offense, meaning motorists can be pulled over on suspicion of that alone, even if they are doing nothing else wrong.

"The total fine an offender would pay is $100.50," said Michael Guanci, a legal analyst with the State of Iowa's Legislative Services Agency.

The new penalty includes $30 for the base fine, a $10.50 surcharge, and $60 court costs.

The new law, in tandem with other new legislation, means a driver causing the death of another person while using a phone can face reckless driving charges carrying up to 10 years in prison.

In cases of serious injury or death, investigators will have the power to subpoena the driver’s phone records to prove they were using their phone at the time of the accident.

Under the new law, a motorist cannot text, use apps like Facebook, browse the web or play electronic games, however, drivers can still use hand-held devices to make calls or check GPS directions.

The law does not forbid distractions caused by children, car radios, or eating while driving.

This is just one of the dozens of new Iowa laws taking effect July 1. Others include laws ranging from the way distilleries sell their product to the protection of sexual assault victims.

For a full list, head to Iowa Legislature's Homepage to read about the other changes.