Eastern Iowa Truck Driver says more needs to be done about distracted driving following close call

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 10:48 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - An Eastern Iowa truck driver said more needs to be done when it comes to distracted driving after he nearly ran off the road last Friday.

Richard Radloff hauls liquid grain for Simon Trucking out of Fairley. He gave TV9 a video that shows a driver veering into his lane on a rural roadway. Radloff had to drive over the center line to avoid the driver.

“I saw no one behind me, and thank god there was no one behind him so I ended up switching lanes,” he said. “The video lasted only about 11 seconds, so I had very little time to react.”

Radloff said he couldn’t tell if the person was using a phone, but said it was very common to encounter a distracted driver on the roadways.

“About every five cars go by, at least one of them is on the phone,” said Radloff.

Texting while driving is already illegal in the state of Iowa, but drivers can use GPS and answer phone calls while driving. The “hands-free driving” bill would make it illegal to operate a phone with your hands while behind the wheel.

“Your phone would need to be hands-free or voice-activated. You can’t look or see the phone activate any longer,” said Matt Wyatt, a spokesperson for Driver Safe Iowa.

Drive Safe Iowa is an advocacy group that focuses on traffic safety. According to the U.S. Transportation Department, 9 people die every day due to distracted driving. Iowa DOT reports 11 people died from distracted driving in 2021.

“I’ve worked as a paramedic a long time, 30 years,” said Wyatt. “I’ve seen the kind of carnage and trauma crashes can cause, and I won’t that sort of thing to stop.”

Radloff said he was shaken by this close call that he had to pull over. He said he watched the other driver pull back into the correct lane like nothing ever happened.

“That’s the last thing anybody wants to do is kill somebody,” said Radloff. "