A key lawmaker says bills which would ban cell phone use in vehicles or punish those caught putting on make-up or reading while driving will likely die in the Iowa legislature this year.
Senator Keith Kreiman, a Democrat from Bloomfield who’s chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was considering a bill which would have created a new penalty for drivers who crash their cars while engaged in some sort of distraction inside the vehicle, like sending a text message or watching a video.
"It was an attempt to try and make the roadways a little safer from people who are distracted while they drive and doing some really crazy things," Kreiman says. The list of "crazy things" in the bill also included playing video games or even eating while driving.
Senator Steve Kettering, a Republican from Lake View, was on the three-member panel of senators that reviewed the proposal. "You could see that it was like swiss cheese with everybody poking holes in it," Kettering says.
Kreiman, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says lawmakers just couldn’t come up with a workable definition of distracted driving. He says legislators, for example, didn’t want to punish the parent who turns around to deal with a child trying to escape a car seat and gets in a wreck, but Kreiman says they do want to punish those who get in a crash because they’re sending text messages or checking their email instead of paying attention to the road.