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Texting while driving is a very dangerous
form of distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Logo July 1, 2010, marked a significant change to driving laws in Iowa. House File 2456, Use of Electronic Communication Devices While Driving, was signed into law by Governor Chet Culver. Effective July 1, 2010, Iowa law prohibits all motor vehicle drivers from text-messaging while driving and also prohibits novice drivers holding a restricted driver license from using an electronic communication device or electronic entertainment device while driving.

All drivers on Iowa roadways are prohibited from writing, reading or sending text messages while driving a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is at a complete stop and off the traveled portion of the roadway. This restriction does not apply to the use of electronic equipment which is permanently installed in a motor vehicle or to a portable device which is operated through permanently installed equipment. The provision of the law does not prohibit the use of a global positioning or navigation system.

The provision related to "reading" a text message does not apply to the following:

  • A member of a public safety agency performing official duties;
  • Health care professionals in the course of an emergency situation; or
  • A person receiving safety-related information, including emergency, traffic or weather alerts.

During an educational period that began July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011, peace officers issued only warning citations for violators of the texting law. Since June 30, 2011, violators have been issued citations.

Any driver convicted of a violation of the "No Texting While Driving" law is guilty of a simple misdemeanor. A conviction for a violation of the "No Texting While Driving" law is not considered a moving traffic violation and generally will not result in a suspension of a person's driver license. There are however, stipulations to the law when serious injury or death of a person is a result of violating this law.

Click here to view the Electronic Communications Devices brochure which outlines prohibited uses while driving.

Click here to view articles relating to distracted driving crahses including those involving texting while driving.

Drivers Simply Can't Do 2 Things At Once

  • Drivers who use hand-held devices while driving are 4 times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves or others.
  • The portion of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of a fatal crash increased from 7% in 2005 to 11% in 2009.
  • One of the most commonly recognized distractions is cell phone use.
  • In a recentNHTSA survey, most individuals (77%) reported that they talk on the phone while driving at least some of the time.

Young Drivers Are Especially At Risk

  • Younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. Their lack of driving experience can contribute to critical misjudgments if they become distracted.
  • Not surprisingly, they text more than any other age group and the numbers of young drivers who text is only increasing. It's a trend that poses a growing danger, so it's important to address this issue now.
  • Parents need to set a good example for their children and show them from an early age that it is just not safe to text and/or talk on their phone while driving.

Everyone Has A Personal Responsibility

With more portable technology now than ever, driver distractions have risen to unprecendented numbers. We live in a world where people expect instant, real-time information 24 hours-a-day and those desires do not stop just because people get behind the wheel. Drivers simply do not realize the dangers that are posed when they take their eyes and minds off the road and their hands off the wheel and focus on activities other than driving.

Everyone Is Part Of The Solution

"Put It Down" is a broad, public-private partnership of community and health groups, safety advocates, businesses, law enforcement, legislators, public officials, concerned citizens and those who have lost loved ones because of a distracted driver. These partners realize that eliminating distractions while driving will save lives and reduce costs associated with crashes caused by distracted drivers. And because everyone is potentially affected when drivers are distracted, everyone must be part of the solution. For more information, please visit

When You’re Texting,
       You’re Not Driving

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Created: 02-07-2006
Last Updated: 03-14-2011 (JLR)
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