Iowa State Patrol has issued 1,131 citations for texting while driving this year, up from 182 citations last year.
The dramatic increase is the result of a new law that allows law enforcement officers to stop drivers who are texting.
“Put down your phone and focus on your driving,” said Sergeant Nathan Ludwig of Iowa State Patrol. “Every day and every night, Troopers are on the lookout for drivers who are texting when they should be focused on their driving.”
In July 2017 texting while driving became a primary offense in Iowa. That means an officer can now stop a driver and issue a citation for texting while driving. Prior to the law change, texting while driving was a secondary offense, meaning that officers could only issue a citation for texting while driving if the officer stopped the driver for another offense.