Iowa Senate Passes Text Message Ban

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By Becky Ogann

DES MOINES (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved a ban on texting while driving, including an amendment that adds reading text messages as well as sending them.

The Senate approved the amended bill 44-6 on Wednesday. The measure returns to the House for further debate.

The measure also prohibits instant messaging and e-mailing while driving. It would go into effect July 1.

No tickets would be issued the first year. After that, motorists caught sending or reading a text message while driving would face a $30 fine. The measure toughens penalties if sending or reading a message leads to an accident causing serious injury or death.

The fines would be $500 and $1,000 respectively, and a driver's license could be suspended.

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