Iowa Senate Considers Tougher Texting Driving Bill

New texting restrictions will go into place for adult drivers July 1, along with a cell phone ban for most teenage drivers. (Photo Illustration by Liz Martin/SourceMedia Group News)

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By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Senate lawmakers are considering a bill that toughens Iowa's restrictions against texting while driving.

A subcommittee debated the legislation Tuesday. Under the bill, distracted driving — including texting on a mobile phone — would become an offense that police could use to make a traffic stop.

The legislation did not advance Tuesday. Lawmakers expressed concern the language was too general, while a lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said the broad definitions could lead to racial profiling.

Iowa law forbids texting while driving as a secondary offense, so police cannot pull drivers over simply for texting and driving. The proposed bill would expand the banned behavior beyond just texting, to include any activity that could distract drivers.

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