The Iowa Senate passed a hands-free while driving bill on Wednesday 47-3. Senate File 547 would prohibit the use of electronic devices unless they are in hands-free mode while driving.
Republican Sen. Mark Lofgren said the bill will help rein in many distracted drivers.
“Twenty-five years ago the problem was not as prevalent, but today it is commonplace and it continues to get worse,” Lofgren said.
Lofgren said the bill will not eliminate all the risks of distracted driving, but provides a line that cannot be crossed.
“By doing so, we’ll improve safety on our roads,” he said.
Devices must be in voice-activated or hands-free mode while a car is in motion. Fines would increase from $45 to $100 under the bill. If a serious injury or death occurs, the fine increases to $500 and $1,000 with the possibility of a suspended license.
Democrat Sen. Claire Celsi spoke in support of the bill.
“If you didn’t already know, devices in the car such as cell phones are the number one cause of distracted driving in our state,” Celsi said. “I think this is a good solution for it.”
Only Republican Senators Brad Zaun, Cherielynn Westrich and Kerry Gruenhagen voted against the bill.