SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Iowa lawmakers are considering two traffic-related bills, that would affect both drivers and law enforcement.
One bill would change where law enforcement can place speed cameras, and the other prohibits drivers from using cellphones unless the devices are hands-free.
Senate File 60 would allow drivers to only hold a cell phone when answering and ending a call.
“We’ve been wanting this bill to be passed for the last few years and the fact that it’s finally pushing forward here, it’s gonna be a very successful time. it really reduces the only times you can have that phone in there is your pushing send or ending the call. and making sure that we’re reducing those crashes,” said Trooper Karey Yaneff with the Iowa State Patrol (ISP).
The average cost for a distracted driving ticket is $107. The bill would also increase the cost of the fine. Yaneff believes if the bill passes, drivers won’t pay any mind to it at first.
“I think for a while here, I don’t think people are gonna take it seriously. They’re probably gonna think I’m not going to get caught, it’s not going to happen to me. But until they get that ticket or that citation saying hey this is the new bill, this is what’s gonna happen. I think eventually everyone else is gonna become on board that this is gonna be a very effective bill,” said Yaneff.
House File 173, would prohibit traffic cameras from state and county roads within city limits, including state highways and interstates. Sergeant Thomas Gill with the Sioux City Police Department (SCPD) said the city’s speed cameras have helped keep the roads safe.
“I believe it slowed down the traffic. Now people know where those are at, so a lot of times they’re gonna slow down and that’s what we want. We just want people to comply and then we don’t have to have officers sitting out there running a stationary radar, we can use those speed cameras,” said Sergeant Gill.
Trooper Yaniff said while the cameras can help keep roads safer, it ultimately depends on drivers to follow the law.
“Anytime that you have anybody that’s gonna slow down is gonna be effective for us, but the biggest thing is making sure that we’re changing the habits of these people. Making sure they slow down all the time, not in certain areas,” said Yaneff.
The bills are waiting to be heard by their respective committees in the Iowa legislature.