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Advocacy continues after hands-free driving fails again at the Iowa Statehouse

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

While the Iowa Senate passed a bill that would ban motorists' handheld use of cell phones behind the wheel in 2023, it failed to advance in this year's session after the proposal was combined with legislation that would ban traffic enforcement cameras.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks about what impacts a hands-free driving law would have in Iowa. First, Kieffer speaks with Peter and Jo Ann Bengtson, parents whose daughter was struck and killed by a motorist while riding her bike near Charles City in August 2020.

Then, Iowa Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Luke Hoffman and Sgt. Alex Dinkla of the Iowa State Patrol join the conversation about Iowa's current restrictions on cell phone use while driving and why they advocate for a hands-free law.

Later in the episode, we look back upon the first anniversary of the Sudan civil war with Ayman Sharif, a Sudanese American and Coralville resident.


  • Peter and Jo Ann Bengtson, parents of Ellen Bengtson
  • Luke Hoffman, executive director, Iowa Bicycle Coalition
  • Sgt. Alex Dinkla, public information officer, Iowa State Patrol
  • Ayman Sharif, Sudanese American and executive director, Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.