Last year Iowa legislators enacted laws banning the use of handheld devices by drivers, specifically focusing on those who text while driving. However, in the past year Iowa police have handed out very few tickets to drivers who are texting behind the wheel.

This does not mean that few Iowans are texting while driving, but rather (according to some in the state) that police simply are not enforcing the existing law. This has some in the state complaining because police are not doing their job; not using the tools available to them to keep drivers safe on the roads.

There have been repeated studies showing that distracted driving is causing as many if not more traffic fatalities than drunk driving. These reports have prompted law makers across the country to enact provisions which address the increasing number of people driving while using a handheld device. It doesn’t matter if it is texting, emailing or simply making a phone call, any type of technical distraction (even a non-technical distraction) is enough to greatly reducing your reaction time and leaving you, and anyone sharing the road with you, at risk of a serious crash.

Police are aware of the dangers of distracted driving, but the fact is, it is difficult to catch these drivers if you are not directly observing them flaunting the law. It is one thing to watch someone pick up their phone and make a call or send a text message. Then officers can make a stop and write a citation. If they are not directly observing a driver engaged in this activity they can only guess at what they might be doing behind the wheel, and guesses do not hold up in court.

Suffice to say, however, now that lawmakers are aware that police have not been enforcing the new texting while driving ban there will be increased emphasis on police enforcing the law. Which means Iowa drivers need to be careful, especially if they are prone to texting while driving.