April 3-10, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau is partnering with law enforcement across the state to help curb the epidemic of distracted driving.
In 2022, 9,201 crashes on Iowa roadways were because of distracted/inattentive drivers. These accidents are responsible for 20 deaths, 3,652 injured persons, and over $81 million dollars in property damage. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 32,483 people died in distraction-affected crashes across the country from 2011 to 2020.
In Iowa, distracted driving is a primary law which means law enforcement officers can stop any driver who is texting (reading, writing, or sending) or using any portable electronic device, unless the motor vehicle is at a complete stop and off the traveled portion of the roadway.
Alex Dinkla with the Iowa State Patrol says, “Distracted driving is a leading cause of vehicle crashes on Iowa’s roads, and most of this distraction is attributed to using electronic devices. People know texting and driving is dangerous and illegal, but they do it anyway, and it puts others at risk.”
Beginning April 3, drivers will see increased law enforcement efforts. Officers will be stopping and ticketing those caught texting and driving. You drive, you text, you pay.
The GTSB encourages drivers to use hands free options when engaging a mobile device in their vehicle. Drivers can also limit distractions by enabling the ‘driving’ focus on phones.
The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau works with city, county, state, and local organizations to develop and implement strategies to reduce deaths and injuries on Iowa’s roadways using federally funded grants.