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The Cost of Answering a Text
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Most drivers have probably done it before. Your phone buzzes when youre driving and you think you can sneak a quick look. We all know its incredibly dangerous but right now, police officers cant pull you over for it. Before long, that could change.
"It really does endanger a lot of people out there and I think that it's become more of a problem as technologies advanced and everybody wants to be on their phones all the time, said local motorist Chris Michael.
For that reason, a number of state advisory committees want to make cracking down on distracted drivers a bigger priority by making texting while driving a more serious offense.
"We are having people die in automobile accidents and it kills the person, it's heart-breaking for all the people involved, said Iowa State Senator Rob Hogg.
So just by boosting texting while driving from a simple misdemeanor to a primary offense, fines could triple. But the most visible change to drivers will be that police officers can pull them over just for texting.
"Definitely making it a primary offense, you see somebody with a phone up it definitely will make it easier for us, said Iowa State Trooper Bob Conrad.
"We need to continue to make improvements in safeguarding people in vehicles on the roads, said Senator Hogg.
The challenge for law enforcement is catching drivers who use their phones behind the wheel. If drivers hold their phones in the right spot, its hard for an officer to see.
"You've always got it like down underneath where you can't see it through the window, said Michael.
"There are some tough areas with enforcing the law but if I have enough time to see somebody and monitor and watch them, then there isn't, said Trooper Conrad.
But that takes extra time and might allow some drivers to slip away. Trooper Conrad says he thinks higher penalties will make some people think twice.
"The unfortunate part is that really shouldn't be the reason, said Trooper Conrad.
Hogg says the change has been discussed in the past, but through political compromise, it was make a simple misdemeanor and not a primary offense. He says