Des Moines, IOWA --- With the increasing demands on our personal and professional time in today’s busy society, learning to juggle multiple tasks at once is something we all face daily. As a result, a new traffic safety epidemic has emerged on America’s roadways that demands immediate attention: distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association has designated April as “National Distracted Driving Awareness Month”.
Nationwide nearly 6,000 people are killed every year and a half million more are injured in distracted driving traffic crashes. Each year in Iowa, an average of 10 lives are lost and nearly 1,000 people are injured in some 1,800 distracted driving crashes. One of the most alarming and widespread forms of distracted driving is cell phone usage. According to a Carnegie Mellon study, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. A report from the National Safety Council found that more than one out of every four traffic crashes is caused by people talking on cell phones or sending text messages.
Iowa law states that no person shall use a handheld electronic communication device to write, send or read a text message, instant message or electronic mail while driving a motor vehicle, unless the motor vehicle is at a complete stop off the traveled portion of the roadway. This does not prohibit use of a global positioning or navigation system.
No teen driver holding a restricted driver’s license shall use any electronic communication device or electronic entertainment device while driving a motor vehicle, unless the motor vehicle is at a complete stop off the traveled portion of the roadway. This does not apply to the use of electronic equipment permanently installed in the motor vehicle or a portable device operated through permanently installed equipment, such as OnStar.
No one is immune from the dangers of distracted driving. Every life is precious so, please remember: One text or call could wreck it all.
For questions, please contact:
Jennifer Parsons, Distracted Driving Coordinator
Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0248