Distracted drivers cause a disproportionate number of accidents. Dangerous actions that take attention from the road include texting and smartphone use as well as eating, conversing with passengers and using the radio.
Review the facts about distracted driving in Iowa and the provisions of the state’s ban on driver phone use.
The impact of distracted driving
According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, handheld device use quadruples the risk for a crash causing a serious injury. The state cites an average of nearly 600 deaths each year caused by distracted drivers, including passengers, occupants of other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. Drivers who glance down at a device for 5 seconds at 55 miles per hour travel the length of a football field without looking at the road.
Drivers younger than 20 are much more likely to text behind the wheel than older drivers are. Parents can prepare their teens to become safe drivers by setting a good example when it comes to distractions.
Device use prohibitions
Iowa bans reading, sending or writing emails or texts on electronic devices while behind the wheel. However, motorists older than 18 may legally navigate with and talk on their phones while driving. The state prohibits all electronic device use for younger drivers.
The law does not apply to the receipt of safety information in an emergency. Public safety officers and health care workers can also use their phones when on duty.
When a driver suffers a serious auto accident injury, he or she can sue for financial damages if a distracted driver caused the collision. The injured person has two years to file the type of lawsuit in Iowa starting on the date of the accident.