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Branstad signs laws restricting distracted driving in Iowa

Branstad signs laws restricting distracted driving in Iowa. Photo courtesy of KHQA's Iowa State House Reporter, Steffi Lee.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Gov. Terry Branstad has signed into law enhanced penalties involving the use of cellphones while driving.

Branstad signed the bills Monday surrounded by law enforcement. Both pieces of legislation take effect July 1.

One law determines that a driver who uses a cellphone and causes the death of another person has shown evidence of reckless driving and could face a felony conviction that includes up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The law also establishes a 24/7 sobriety and drug monitoring program for drivers.

The other law will allow officers to pull over drivers specifically for texting. It was previously a secondary offense, which meant an officer needed another reason to make a traffic stop.

Texting drivers would face a $30 fine.


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