State lawmakers moved forward several bills this session addressing distracted driving and fatal crash penalties for bicyclists. This week was a flurry of activity regarding the legislative priorities of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition.
HF2015 Standard Penalties for Fatal Crashes passed an Iowa House subcommittee unanimously and is forwarded to the Iowa House Transportation Committee. This bill adds “Steering Unreasonably Close to Bicyclists” to the enhanced penalty list in 321.281. Code section 321.281 is Iowa’s vulnerable user law that creates an additional fine for actions that impact motorcyclists and pedestrians. However, “Steering Unreasonably Close to a Bicyclist” is not on that list of enhanced infractions. This bill does not raise penalties but creates an equal penalty across the board. Mark Wyatt and Angela Lindberg testified at the meeting. Angela’s husband Chris was killed by a motorist in September in Urbandale. The driver received a traffic ticket. Representatives Seigrest, Brian Meyer, and Ann Meyer were in favor of the bill.
HF392 Hands-free cell phone use required while driving was reported out of the House Transportation Committee. This bill requires motorists using cell phones to have them in hands-free or voice-activated modes while driving. This bill is now eligible for debate in the Iowa House.
SF330 is the Iowa Senate version of the Hands-Free Required While Driving bill. The bill passed the subcommittee and was reported out of committee this week. It is a companion to HF392 with the same language. If SF330 and HF392 pass their respective chambers without amendment, they will be forwarded to the governor to be signed into law. SF330 is eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate.
HSB561 Hands-free cell phone use required when driving in work zones or school zones passed a subcommittee and advances for consideration by the House Transportation Committee. This bill is regarded as a backup bill if HF392 does not advance.
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