Iowa State Patrol To Utilize Unmarked Patrol Cars In Enforcing New Texting While Driving Law

Fri 8-4-2017

(Spencer)-- The Iowa State Patrol says it will use unmarked patrol cars as part of an effort to enforce a new distracted driving law that went on the books July 1st. 

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says undercover 'spotter' vehicles will be operated by troopers looking for distracted driving violations. When a violation is observed, a uniformed trooper nearby will be notified to take enforcement action. 

Under the new law, distracted drivers who cause a crash resulting in serious injury may now be charged with a class "D" felony. A crash resulting in death now meets the criteria for motor vehicle homicide, a class "C" felony. 

The new law also expands the scope of distractions, to include email, social media, gaming and web browsing. Those distractions are also now primary enforcement actions under the new law.

The Iowa State Patrol says the state recorded 1,230 crashes attributed to distractions in 2016. Officials say 13 of those crashes took a life.