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Advertisement Five new laws to know when you hit the road
by By Liz Mathis State Senator · June 29th, 2017

The new fiscal year will start on July 1 and that means several new laws will take effect in Iowa. The legislature passed more than one hundred pieces of legislation; many of the laws around driving. One of those laws involves advocacy by Linn-Mar students.

Here are five you'll want to remember:

Texting while driving: Law enforcement can pull drivers over and write a ticket if they see you texting while driving. This includes using e-mail, webpages, social media and gaming. Under the old law, officers could only cite for texting if they pulled you over for another traffic violation (SF 234).

Reckless driving update: If a driver seriously injures or kills someone because they're texting while driving, they'll be guilty of reckless driving (a Class C felony). I helped Linn-Mar students achieve this tougher law when they lobbied legislators after losing two classmates in an accident in which a driver (alleged to have been texting) rear-ended their car on County Home Road in Linn County (SF 444).

Fender benders: If you're in an accident that results only in vehicle damage, you'll need to move your car to the nearest shoulder, emergency lane or median, if possible. This will help keep traffic from getting backed up and prevent additional accidents (HF 313).

Slow down to get around: Motorists must slow down, change lanes if possible and be prepared to stop when passing garbage and recycling trucks with their safety lights flashing. This is similar to Iowa laws for driving through construction zones and passing public safety or emergency vehicles (HF314).

Turns on red: When stopped at a red light, you can now make a right turn from all lanes designated for right turns, or a left turn from all lanes designated for left turns on a one-way street. This new law reflects current road design and traffic signaling. It also helps eliminate confusion and keeps traffic moving (HF 372).

These are just a few of more than 120 updates to Iowa laws that take effect July 1. For a complete list of new laws-impacting everything from health care to victims' safety and school funding to small businesses-go to

As always, please drive safely over the holiday. You can contact me with questions or concerns at Liz.Mathis@Legis.Iowa.Gov. Starting in October my legislative mailing address at 1725 MacKenzie Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52411, will change to 320 Blairsferry Crossing, Hiawatha, IA 52233.
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