According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, text-messaging is banned for all drivers in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Effective July 1, 2010 Iowa joined the ranks when House File 2456 (www.votesmart.org/billtext/29106.pdf) went into effect. For adult drivers, the new ban prohibits writing, sending, or reading text or electronic mail messaging while driving. Adult drivers can still use cell phones to place and receive calls; however, drivers 14-18 years old cannot. Drivers 14-18 have an outright ban of cell phone or electronic device use while driving. This applies to drivers operating under instructional permits, school permits, and/or graduated or intermediate driver’s licenses.
While the new law goes into effect July 1, 2010, law enforcement will simply be issuing warnings for the first year. Beginning July of 2011; however, violations of the texting ban will result in a simple misdemeanor change punishable by a $30 scheduled fine, plus court costs and surcharges for adults. There will also be enhanced sanctions in situations where an accident occurs resulting in serious injury or death. Violations by restricted teen drivers will result in a $50 fine, plus court costs, surcharges and various license suspension provisions. Cell phones may not be confiscated by law enforcement if drivers violate the ban.