Did you know that each day in the U.S., approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes that involved a distracted driver” [Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)]? Many of those distractions were attributed to cellphones. Because cellphones have served as a factor in many of the serious and fatal car crashes that have occurred in Iowa, lawmakers are looking to use Senate Study Bill 3045 as a way to reduce and even eliminate distracting driving accidents.
What is Senate Study Bill 3045?
SB 3045, which has been renumbered to SF 2248, is currently in the process of being reviewed by lawmakers and could potentially gain the signature of the Governor which would allow it to become active. The bill aims to limit how and when a driver in Iowa can use their cellphone. If passed, the law would modify the current law that says “ A person shall not use a hand-held electronic communication 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.” The proposed law, instead, says that “a driver shall not use an electronic communication device while driving unless they are stopped and off the traveled portion of the roadway.”
Essentially, what this means is that drivers in Iowa would no longer be permitted to use their cellphone for any purpose, aside from an emergency or while it is in hands-free mode, while operating their motor vehicle.
Now, while the new law would apply to all Iowans, there are certain individuals who would be exempt from it which includes:
- Members of a public safety agency who are performing official duties.
- A health care professional in the course of an emergency situation.
- Any person in need of reporting an emergency situation as mentioned above.
- A person who uses their electronic device by pressing a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication.
Those who violate the law would be guilty of committing a moving violation.
As society grows more and more dependent on their cellphones, it is important to recognize the risks they carry when a person uses their device while driving. One way you can do this is by looking at distracted driving accidents that have occurred in the past but could have been prevented had the driver decided not to use their cellphone.
25-Year-Old sentenced for Manslaughter After Causing a Texting While Driving Accident in Ohio
On May 28, 2017, Natasha Boggs hit three teens who had been walking along the road in Coventry Township, OH. She had been texting while driving which caused her to drive over the marked lane and onto the side of the road, reported Fox 8 News. Two of the teens, both of which were 14 years old, were killed and a 15-year-old boy suffered serious injuries.
Boggs pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter, vehicular assault and attempted tampering with evidence and was sentenced to six years in prison. Boggs’ license was also suspended for five years and she was ordered to pay court costs.
While lawmakers are working to pass laws that would make it illegal for drivers to physically use their cellphone while driving, it doesn’t mean all drivers are going to stop. Therefore, it is necessary to reiterate what drivers can be doing to help prevent distracted driving accidents from occurring.
- Put your cellphone out of reach. If your phone is somewhere that you cannot reach it while you are driving, you cut your chances of using it. In the event you need to make a call or answer a text, you would be required to pull over off the traveled portion of the roadway to do so. While it might be difficult for a driver to do this the first few times, it is important to stay focused on the ultimate goal—eliminate the chances of causing a distracted driving accident.
- Connect your phone to your vehicle’s Bluetooth system. When your phone is connected to your vehicle’s Bluetooth system, you eliminate having to grab for your phone when you receive notification of a text or a call is coming through. Instead, you can answer it through your vehicle’s system, which helps to make the roadway a safer place.
- Turn off notifications until you arrive at your destination. One of the main reasons why drivers are unable to stop using their cellphones while operating a vehicle is because they are constantly receiving notifications and feel obligated to check/answer them. to rid yourself of this problem, why not turn off all notifications, aside from phone calls in case of an emergency, so that you aren’t tempted to check your phone.
- Reiterate to your teen drivers the importance of driving with their cellphone out of sight. The CDC says that “drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.” Therefore, it is recommended that you express to your teen driver why they shouldn’t ever use their cellphone when driving a car.
Now, if you or someone you know was involved in a car crash in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that was caused by a distracted driver, you can contact Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, P.L.C. to speak with one of our trusted Iowa car accident lawyers. As an accident victim, you do have rights and our Cedar Rapids, IA car accident attorneys are here to help you understand what they are. While some are concerned with recovering compensation for pain and suffering, you might be more interested in finding out how much you can collect for the medical expenses you incurred. To learn more about your legal rights and what your case might be worth, contact our office now.
You can reach Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, P.L.C. at:
1921 51st Street NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Phone: (319) 393-1020
Fax: (319) 393-4000