New Iowa Laws Aimed at Driver Distractions, Teen Safety PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Tony Dorsey   
Thursday, 29 July 2010 13:49

(Washington DC) -- Two new laws that took effect in Iowa this month are designed to make travel on that state’s 114,000 miles of roads a whole lot safer. While one change affects all drivers, both laws specifically target young drivers who are most at risk of becoming involved in a motor vehicle crash.

The first law prohibits all drivers, regardless of age or license type, from texting while driving. Additionally, this law makes it illegal for teens holding a restricted driver’s license to use any electronic entertainment or communication device (not built into the vehicle) while driving; this includes, but is not limited to, cell phones and iPods.

Iowa’s teen restricted driver’s license types are a graduated driver’s license (GDL) instruction permit, GDL intermediate license, minor school license, and special restricted license.

The second new law requires persons under age 18 to wear a safety belt or harness, or use a safety restraint system, while seated in the front or back seat of a moving vehicle. This new law is in addition to the previous Iowa laws that require all drivers and front-seat passengers, regardless of age, to wear a seat belt.

In a new Two Minute State DOT Update video, Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Director Nancy Richardson tells Transportation TV that her department supports the new laws because, “Every injury inflicted or life taken in a vehicle crash is someone’s child, mother, father, sister or brother. No one should be injured or killed because he or she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt or because someone was texting or otherwise distracted while driving.”

(Watch it now:

In the video, Richardson discusses the importance and specifics of the new driver safety laws that the Iowa DOT and their safety partners had been working for years to implement. “Law enforcement officials in Iowa now have two more tools to make Iowans a whole lot safer,” Richardson said. “We’re seeing the number of motor vehicle-related fatalities decline in Iowa, but we’re still not satisfied. We have a goal to reduce fatalities by 10 percent over a 10-year period and these laws will help. The bottom line is that - One Death is One Too Many.

Iowa is making the issue of driver safety a top priority. While the campaign against distracted driving is leading the charge, the Iowa DOT has also implemented projects to improve driver behavior through effective safety education programs.

“We know distracted driving is an important challenge for Iowa drivers because last year more than 6,000 people nationally died in accidents related to it,” Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said at a press conference rolling out the new laws. “Law enforcement will be offering warnings this year, but every Iowa driver should know there are real penalties in this law because keeping drivers safe on the roads is a priority of this administration.”


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