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‘Hands-Free’ Bill Moves Ahead Again at the State Capitol

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  State lawmakers are moving closer to another change in the law in hopes of getting you to put down the phone and keep your eyes on the road.

The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved Senate File 76 on Wednesday afternoon at the State Capitol.  The 'Hands-Free Bill' bans the use of any 'electronic communication device' while driving unless it is hands-free mode.  That includes phones, tablets, computers and other devices but exempts GPS only devices.

Senator Jeff Danielson, (D) Black Hawk County, is one of the bill's biggest proponents.  He says the technology necessary to enforce this bill is already installed on your phone and can be used for free.

"Whether you have an android you can say OK google and it will open up and you can do voice free commands," said Danielson, "Its already built into the phone. If you have an Apple its Siri."

Danielson, a firefighter, says he sees the real world impact of distracted driving back home.  "I am a firefighter. It is a pretty common occurence at an accident scene to see the phone somewhere on the dash or in the drivers seat and its clear that they were using it during the accident."

State Senator Jeff Lofgren shared his own stories of the sudden impact of distracted driving.  Lofgren says he's been running for 50 years and only in the last few has been afraid to go out.  "It's a dangerous out there. It wasn't before. As I run through intersections you have to be really careful."

The bill is now eligible for debate in the full Senate.

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