Online Petition Drive Seeks Tougher Cell Phone Laws, Fewer Distracted Drivers

Statewide Iowa — The number of crashes and deaths involving distracted drivers is swiftly rising in Iowa and the leader of the state’s largest cycling organization is calling for stricter laws on the use of cell phones by motorists. Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, says they’ve gotten bipartisan, committee-level support of get-tough laws in the past two legislative sessions, but haven’t been able to get a measure to a floor vote in either chamber.

In one case, Wyatt says a woman cyclist was killed by a distracted driver in Charles City on a Sunday afternoon last spring.

That death, and many others, prompted the launch of a campaign called Drive Safe Iowa. It’s an online petition drive to collect names of supporters demanding an update to Iowa’s distracted driving laws. As for the distracted driver in the Charles City case, Wyatt says he did have to go to court.

An Iowa DOT report says in 2001, there was one reported death from distracted driving in Iowa and about 500 crashes. Last year, there were ten deaths statewide caused by distracted driving and nearly 11-hundred crashes.

So far, 47 states have banned texting while driving and 16 states have hands-free laws. To sign the petition, visit



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