Iowa Authorities Find it Difficult to Cite Drivers Who Text

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Texting while driving bans have been sweeping the nation, but as this next story illustrates, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s becoming easier for law enforcement officials to crack down on the practice.

In Iowa, officers have had trouble issuing citations for a texting while driving offense.  The breach is considered a secondary offense in that state, which means that drivers cannot be pulled over just for texting.  They must be found committing some other offense in addition.  This potentially makes it harder to cite people engaging in the activity, with one person from the Iowa State Patrol stating that making texting a primary offense would make it easier to catch people in the act.

So just how hard is it to cite someone for texting in Iowa?  The numbers speak for themselves.  Since the law went into effect almost a year ago on July 1, 2011, only 96 tickets have been issued by the Iowa State Patrol.  When you add those numbers to those recorded by officers at the local and county level, it adds up to a paltry 119 texting while driving convictions in the entire state.  In fact, Cedar Rapids Police and Iowa City Police have yet to hand out a single citation.

Another problem is that it’s hard to prove that someone was disobeying the law.  Many people just give the excuse that they were dialing a phone number or simply profess ignorance.