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Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel
by DJ Kauffman Correspondent · March 2nd, 2017

It is a dangerous gamble to text while driving; sometime you win and sometimes everyone loses.

Statistics from, shows more than 1.6 million accidents per year are caused by texting and driving, and drivers who text endanger as many lives as drivers drinking four beers. "If you look at or send a text when driving 55 mph, it is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded!"

Several Iowa lawmakers and Gov. Terry Branstad (R) are taking these statistics very seriously. They are proposing those on the road whose minds have become distracted with hand-held devices be held more accountable.

An enforcing stipulation in Iowa's law is also giving Iowa legislators concern for public safety. While current law states: "A person shall not use a hand-held electronic communication device to write, send, or read a text message while driving a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is at a complete stop off the traveled portion of the roadway," texting while driving is only considered a secondary offense; therefore a person can only be ticketed for this if he or she has violated a primary one, such as running a stop light, (

According to, An Iowa House of Representatives subcommittee has recently approved Senate Study Bill 1002, 3-0. Their proposal will now move to the full Senate Transportation Committee. "The proposed legislation would make texting while driving a primary offense, which would allow law officers to issue a citation if they simply observe a driver texting behind the wheel, even if there is no other violation." []

State Senator Liz Mathis (D) said she joined several Linn-Mar students for a media conference at the Iowa statehouse in Des Moines on Feb. 15. Their "Alive: Don't Phone and Drive" initiative is hoping to sway legislators to pass a tougher texting and driving law in light of their recent loss.

Linn-Mar spokesperson Holly Baird told lawmakers and reporters, "We are here because our friends, Selena and Bella, were killed in a tragic accident, while their mother and two sisters were rushed to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital with life-threatening injuries that were caused by reckless driving, more specifically, texting and driving." []

According to authorities, the accident happened at 3:44 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2016; Jennifer Perez was one of five persons in a Chevrolet Aveo on County Home Road, when they were struck from behind by a Chevy Silverado driven by Keith Furne, 35. Perez's two teenage daughters who attended Linn-Mar, 13-year-old Isabella Severson and 16-year-old Selena Apodaca did not survive the impact.

Furne was later charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle and one count of reckless driving resulting in serious injury after a three-month investigation by the Linn County Sheriff's Office. He was taken into custody on February 10, 2017, with a cash bond set at $100,000.

Amanda Lorimer Loesche is a friend of Perez. She recently wrote on the "Help Jenny Rose and her angel's" page at, "Jenny is still dealing with her injuries and it's taking a lot of time for her head and her ribs to heal. Mia is doing well, but is having some very sad comments about her sisters that are so heart-wrenching for Jenny to hear and try and explain. A mother shouldn't have to explain that to a four-year-old." According to the site, they have raised $52,978 as of Sunday, Feb. 26. Loesche explains in her blog the family is still in need of critical moving expenses.
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