New Iowa fine for texting and driving: $120.75

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The fine for texting and driving in the state of Iowa may read $30, but it will cost violators much more than that.  Iowa City Police Sergeant Denise Brotherton said after court costs the fine in Johnson County will come to $120.75.  Police will be authorized to start handing out the fines Friday at midnight.

The texting law has been in place for a year, but now officers will be allowed to issue fines rather than warnings, which was part of the law signed by Governor Chet Culver.

"Initially it doesn't sound like much," Brotherton said.  "But you put those court costs on there and it can really put a dent in your wallet."

The new distracted driving law, which took effect last year, bans drivers from reading, writing, or sending a message from behind the wheel.  The law bans drivers under the age of 18 from using a cell phone, unless it is permanently installed in the vehicle.

"Our goal is to get people to stop, and to avoid collisions," Brotherton said.

Enforcing the law in its first year hasn't been easy, Brotherton said.  The distracted driving law that prohibits texting is classified as a secondary law, meaning police officers can't merely pull someone over on suspicion of texting while driving.

"It's going to be a difficult one," said Brotherton.  "And you might get away with it, but if you get in an accident and kill someone, what did you get away with?"

For more information about the new law, click here.

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