DES MOINES, Iowa — With the Iowa legislative session set to begin on January 9, 2023, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition hopes lawmakers will make it illegal for drivers to look at their phones.

Right now, it’s only illegal to send or read a message in Iowa while driving.

Iowa Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Mark Wyatt said that creates gaps in the law. He cited a 2020 incident where a driver killed a cyclist in Charles City. The driver was not breaking the law because he was looking at his Facebook page, not sending or reading a message at the time of the crash.

Wyatt said he’s lucky to not have gotten seriously injured or killed by a distracted driver while on his bike.

He added changing the law will not only help bicyclists, but it would also make the roads safer for everyone.

“This doesn’t just affect bicyclists, this affects everybody,” Wyatt said. “And we’ve seen crashes where two motorists collide and passengers are killed by the driver that was texting. So this is the opportunity that doesn’t just affect bicyclists, this affects everybody that uses Iowa roadways.”

He said he’s working with members of the State House and Senate on hands-free legislation for the upcoming session.

Currently, two neighboring states have hands-free laws, Illinois and Minnesota.