January 27, 2020

Prohibit Handheld Phone Use While Driving


Using a cellphone while driving increases crash risk. The drivers who spent the greatest amount of their driving time interacting with a cellphone also had the highest rates of near-crashes and crashes. Researchers have consistently linked texting or otherwise manipulating a cellphone to increased risk. Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing, and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices tripled the risk of getting into a crash.

Based on national police-reported data on fatal crashes in the United States during 2017, 3,166 people died in motor vehicle crashes in which distraction was deemed a contributing factor. That is about 9 percent of all crash deaths. 

The Iowa DOT has compiled traffic crash data involving distracted driving. Look at the chart that shows increasing distracted driving fatalities at https://iowadot.gov/mvd/stats/distracted.pdf.

Drivers are distracted by things other than cellphones, so prohibiting phone use will not eliminate distracted driving. However, research has documented that bans on hand-held phone use reduce overall phone use. 

Current Bills: