Iowa lawmakers: Get serious about texting and driving

Future Texting
Image by Dan Zen via Flickr

Update: Tyler Olson responded to my tweet about this by tweeting:

“All other existing criminal charges with fines and jail time would also apply.”

One would hope so. However, we’ve seen too much lenient treatment of motorists who have killed cyclists and others through carelessness to take much comfort from that.

* * *

From Iowa State Rep. Tyler Olson’s “Capitol Update” today comes proof that the Iowa Legislature isn’t ready to take seriously the issue of texting while driving:

A person who is texting and gets into an accident resulting in serious injury will be fined $500 and could lose their license for up to 90 days. If the accident results in death, the person is fined $1,000 and could lose their license for up to 180 days.

Oooh. Scary.

How does taking a life through sheer stupidity and selfishness warrant a fine of only $1,000 and license suspension for half a year?

When will our state legislators get serious and tell people flat out that you don’t text while driving, period? That if you do, you will spend serious time in prison – and that if you kill someone, for crying out loud, you will spend much more serious time in prison?

Granted, it is difficult to legislate against being stupid. It can’t be that difficult to legislate appropriate consequences for that stupidity.

In the absence of real action by our lawmakers, let me put it this way:

If you text while driving and have the misfortune to harm me or mine, you will wish that all you had to deal with was this pathetic slap on the wrist that is masquerading as serious public safety legislation.

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