DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — The Iowa legislature is still considering having Iowans go hands-free for cell phone use when behind the wheel.
The bill has passed the Senate but is currently being held up in the House.
Back in 2019, neighboring states like Illinois and Minnesota passed hands-free legislation and saw a 20 to 25 percent reduction in car crashed the following year.
The Iowa State Patrol is hopeful to see those same results in Iowa if the hands-free bill is passed, saying these kinds of crashes are preventable.
“We want to make sure that our roads are safe, we look at roads each and every day and what’s causing crashes out here. we in law enforcement know that distracted driving is one of the leading things that is causing car crashes out here each and every day,” said Sargent Alex Dinkla, Public Information Officer for the Iowa State Patrol.
Dinkla said it is also one of the most underreported violations.
So, what if your car does not have built-in hands-free technology?
Dinkla says that there are other options that help to keep people hands-free behind the wheel, like car mounts or add-on external Bluetooth services.
If that’s not an option, he suggests a solution that can work for everybody:
“We know not everyone can afford a new car with the latest and greatest of technologies, but everybody already has a cell phone, and if they have that cell phone, most of those phones have some speaker mode. So by pushing that button, that technology is already within that phone,” said Dinkla.
Dinkla also shared an alarming statistic, saying if an individual is driving at 55 miles per hour, a single glance at a cell phone, which takes about five seconds, can result in someone driving the length of a football field with their eyes closed.