County 22

By: News Release
Jun 28th, 2017

                I had a question in regards to my article on electronic devices used in vehicles on the roadways.  The law states, “handheld electronic devices” are illegal to view.  This does not include a voice operated or hands free device which allows the user to write, send, or read a text message without the use of either hand, except to activate or deactivate a feature or function.  A GPS unit or a phone used for GPS as long as it isn’t in your hand would be okay. 

 

Sheriff Michael J. Tschirgi

What’s New in County 22?”

This month in my article I would like to talk about some new changes in the laws effective July 1st, 2017. The first one is Senate File 234 which is about distracted driving or texting and driving. Senator Mike Breitbach was the floor manager for this bill which was long overdue. Every year in the United States, 421,000 people are injured in some way that involves the driver being distracted. 1 out of 4 car accidents in the U.S. are caused by texting while driving. (Information from distracteddriveraccidents.com)

Starting July 1st, 2017, texting while driving in Iowa becomes a primary offense for law enforcement. This means Law enforcement can pull you over if you are texting and driving. This might not seem like a big deal, but the way the law reads it also spells out not only texting, but writing, sending, or even viewing an electronic device. If you are driving down the road and just look at your phone, I pad, computer, or any type of electronic device, you are in violation. The way I read the law if you are even taking a photo with your phone and driving you would be in violation. If law enforcement see you looking at your phone we will pull you over just for that and you could be issued a citation under Iowa Code section 321.276 and be charged $100.50! This includes court costs and surcharge fee.

I’ve heard of a new phone coming out that automatically shuts your signal off when you get into your vehicle. That may be the new technology wave coming and it is certainly safer. Please put down your phone and don’t touch it while you are driving.

The second item I would like to bring up is the new county ordinance on the UTV usage. For the most part people have been obeying the law and acting appropriately. However there have been a few incidents where I’ve been told that the UTVs are speeding, which is over 35 mph, driving down state highways (which is illegal), and kids with no helmets. I support the new ordinance and don’t want to see a handful of violators ruin it for all of us. Please make sure you have your updated registration, copy of insurance, tail lights and turn signals (not arm signals), and absolutely no ATVs. RESPECT private property. Come July 1st my officers and I will be making sure that people are obeying the new texting law and also enforcing the UTV ordinance stronger.

And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me anytime, e-mail me at mtschirgi@claytoncountyia.gov, or stop by to see me.

Thanks and be safe,

Sheriff Mike Tschirgi



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