Distracted Driving Is One of the Riskiest Driving Behaviors

September 2014

The Iowa Department of Transportation has identified distracted driving as one of the riskiest driving behaviors. Along with not wearing a seatbelt, distracted driving takes an average of 400 lives in our state every year.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), distracted drivers either contribute to or cause 23 percent of car crashes. To put it in perspective, that is 1.3 million auto accidents across the country each year – a sobering statistic.

Although most people associate distracted driving with texting, other distractions behind the wheel can be just as deadly. The NSC cautions that even hands-free devices make motorists four times as likely to be involved in a collision.

Iowa Distracted Driving Law

An Iowa law passed in 2011 prohibits motorists from sending, receiving, or reading a text message while driving. Because it is classified as a secondary offense, however, police can’t ticket a driver for texting behind the wheel unless the driver has committed some other traffic infraction.

The law does not ban talking on handheld devices or entering a phone number while driving. Iowa law is also silent on the issue of using a GPS behind the wheel. Drivers caught texting and driving can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined $30. Many lawmakers claim that Iowa’s distracted driving law lacks teeth, which has caused the number of distracted driving crashes to rise each year.

The Distracted Brain

Driving is something many people seem to do automatically, but operating a vehicle is actually a complex task that demands significant concentration and motor skills. A study performed by the NSC reveals that motorists who drive while talking on a cell phone miss half of the information around them.

Studies also show that talking and driving affects three aspects of driving:


When people use cell phones while driving, they accidentally pass by exits, run red lights, and fail to process vital information in their visual field.


Hands-free technology still requires drivers to take their eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel – even if just occasionally. Unfortunately, even “occasionally” can be too often in the context of operating a vehicle. Drivers are less likely to remain in control of their vehicles when they are adjusting wires and dialing phone numbers. Their reaction times are slower and their attention is compromised.


When the human brain is focused on a conversation, it is less efficient at processing information and handling complex tasks.

Contact Keane Law Firm if You Have Been Injured

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Attorney Ed Keane today at (712) 234-3088 to discuss your legal rights.

This website has been prepared by Keane Law Firm for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.