Meyer’s distracted driving bill gets pulled over

FORT DODGE — A local lawmaker’s proposal to ban the use of electronic devices while driving unless they are in a hands-free mode has again been stymied.

State Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, has unsuccessfully introduced that bill in the last three legislative sessions. On Wednesday, she said the bill is done for this year’s session.

“Our leadership did not want the complete hands-free bill because they were concerned that older people, and younger people too, couldn’t talk on the phone if they were having an emergency,” she said.

A state Senate bill paired the hands-free requirement with a ban on traffic cameras used for speed enforcement. That bill is also dead for this year, according to Meyer. She said pairing the hands-free provision with the traffic camera ban apparently ended it because “everyone isn’t willing to do a full ban.”

Meyer has consistently described her proposal as a common sense measure that will save lives.

She said there have been two court cases stemming from crashes caused by drivers distracted by their electronic devices and in each case a judge ruled using the devices wasn’t illegal.

Meyer said Wednesday that she is not the only lawmaker getting emails and phone calls from people in favor of her proposal.

The state already has a ban on texting while driving. That law states “A person shall not use a hand-held electronic communications device to write, send or view an electronic message while driving a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is at a complete stop off the traveled portion of the roadway.”

Tweaking that law may be the way to achieve her goal, Meyer said.

She said she will be working to address the distracted driving issue next year. With no primary or general election opposition, Meyer seems assured of returning to the House of Representatives in 2025.


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