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Texting and driving citations spike in Iowa

Posted at 12:04 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-09 16:45:26-04

The Iowa State Patrol has seen a sharp increase in the number of citations given out for texting and driving since it became a primary offense last July. "Put your phone down and pay attention to what's going on around you while you're driving,” said Iowa State trooper, Scott Miller.

According to a release, in the first six months of 2017, there were 182 citations issued, in 2018 that number was 1,131. 

“It’s hard to enforce when it’s not a primary offense because you need to find something else, some other violation to stop them for,” Miller said. 

“Put down your phone and focus on your driving,” Sergeant Nathan Ludwig added. “Every day and every night, Troopers are on the lookout for drivers who are texting when they should be focused on their driving.”

Some Iowa residents are happy this new law is getting enforced. Randy Hyatt says he's seen people texting while driving on multiple occasions. "This past summer I almost got hit 5 times, thank God nothing happened." But Hyatt says it isn't worth the risk. "I pull over in a safe place and then answer it."

This new law also states that any driver under 18 cannot use a phone to text or talk. "They are inexperienced as drivers so throw a phone in the mix and distractions and that is a deadly recipe,” said Miller.

In Nebraska, texting and driving is not a primary offense.