Most laws passed by the 2017 Iowa legislature go into effect this Saturday, July 1, including one about motorists involved in fender-benders.
Senator Waylon Brown of St. Ansgar said it directs people involved in wrecks that only result in damage to the vehicle to get out of traffic as soon as possible.
“Current law requires the driver to immediately stop the vehicle at the scene,” Brown said during senate consideration of the change. “Research shows that every minute a vehicle remains on the travel portion of the road, the risk of a secondary crash increases by 2.8 percent.”
Supporters say this new requirement for drivers who are not hurt in an accident may reduce chain-reaction accidents.
“The DOT Is going to be doing public campaigns to ensure Iowans are aware of this law change,” Brown said, “which will now require them to move off the travel portion of the road, if possible.”
This new law got unanimous support in the legislature. Another new law that passed the House and Senate without a dissenting vote lets all-terrain vehicles cross state highways at designated intersections. Senator Dan Zumbach of Ryan described the new law as a boost to recreational use of ATVs.
“This is bringing together many of the ATV trails that have tried to survive and move forward in the state of Iowa and is just one more step to make that economy spin even larger,” Zumbach said.
Representative Scott Ourth of Ackworth said farmers will benefit from this new law, too.
“I know those who haul feed back and forth now will be able to simply cross the road rather than go some circuitous route to get to their feedlot across some road somewhere,” Ourth said.
Another new law lets vehicles be parked with the engine running, without someone inside. It updates state law to deal with remote starters. Some cities have had ordinances barring cars from idling without someone inside, fearing the gears in running vehicles could slip into drive and cause accidents. This new law had just one opponent in the 150-member legislature.