Senate File 444 is a big step towards protecting bicyclists (and anyone on the road) from dangerous texting and driving. This law increases the penalty to a class C felony in the event of a death caused by texting. This is also the law that creates a sobriety monitoring program for OWI offenders to keep them from getting behind the wheel when intoxicated.
This is a big victory for bicycling. The origin of this bill came from the Iowa Bicycle Coalition in response to Grace Harken's crash caused by a texting driver who only received a traffic ticket. The Iowa Bicycle Coalition provided the framework on the language to the governor's office. A large coalition of public safety groups, cell phone carriers, insurance representatives, and the Iowa Bicycle Coalition worked very hard to get this bill signed into law.
The sobriety monitoring program was a direct result from the crash that killed Wade Franck at the hands of a second offense drunk driver while Wade was biking. Wade’s parents, Jan and Gregory spent a lot of time at the Capitol working on this issue. We were thankful that both of these safety issues were packaged into one bill.
A big thanks to many of our partners and individuals that worked hard on these issues. Thanks to everyone who sent emails, attended meetings,and met with their legislator.
More information can be found here: Senate File 444 and Senate File 234
It appears the Change Lanes to Pass Bicycles bill has stalled, but the door is open for work on this bill in the interim. The Iowa Bicycle Coalition board held a discussion about this bill and the liability aspects of the hi-viz requirement amendment. Our thoughts are the amendment changes the liability for law abiding cyclists and makes the requirements to the bicyclist complex. We don't want a situation where a texting, speeding or drunk motorist can drive dangerously over a cyclist if they don't have the right color of clothing - and get off the hook if something bad happens.
Texting and drunk driving were two big parts of the strategy to end fatal bike crashes. We aren’t going to stop until we have a safe passing distance law that works for everyone. We don’t like to talk about this, but it costs money for this campaign. You can help by making a donation at https://ibc.z2systems.com/np/clients/ibc/donation.jsp?campaign=5
Keep moving forward,
Mark Wyatt | Iowa Bicycle CoalitionContent posted from Iowa Bicycle Coalition email notification on April 19th 2017
Both bills were signed in front of the Department of Public Safety Building in downtown Des Moines at 9:00am on Monday April 17th 2017.