- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa would join numerous other states in prohibiting drivers from using hand-held cell phones or other electronic devices under a bill that advanced Monday to a full Senate committee.

Republican Sen. Zach Whiting is managing the bill that drew no objections from other Senate Transportation subcommittee members or lobbyists.

Current law prohibits use of electronic devices to write, send or view messages while driving but the proposed bill would go further by prohibiting the use of any electronic communication devices while driving. That means drivers couldn’t talk on cell phones unless they’re hands-free and use a speaker phone or earphone device, similar to laws in 19 other states, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It would be a moving violation to break the law in Iowa. That means violations would go on driving records and repeated offenses could result in loss of a license. The basic fine would be $30.

Whiting said he knows such bills raise liberty concerns

“I’m a liberty guy but there has to be a limit when there’s other people’s lives and safety at risk and distracted driving is an incredible risk to drivers out there,” he said.

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