Panel OKs Stricter Texting While 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 Rachel Begle

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers have granted initial approval of a bill that would further crack down on texting while driving.

A three-member Senate transportation subcommittee unanimously approved the measure Tuesday. It goes to the full Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday.

Current law prohibits texting while driving, but police can only enforce the law if they notice the violation after pulling a person over for another infraction, such as speeding. Under the bill, officers could stop a person specifically for suspected texting while driving, regardless of whether there is another violation.

Democratic Sen. Tod Bowman, who sponsored the bill, says dangers associated with texting while driving need to be further addressed. Republican Sen. Tim Kapucian says the bill would reduce those dangers by bringing attention to the issue.

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