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Ragan’s windshield wiper bill to be debated in Iowa Senate

Senator Amanda Ragan
Senator Amanda Ragan

DES MOINES – A bill co-sponsored by Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City relating to requirements for the use of headlights by motorists has been passed by the Iowa Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday, the Des Moines Register reported.

Senate File 27 was passed by a 7-4 vote all along party lines and is now eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate.

The bill amends Iowa Code section 321.384 to require the  operator of a motor vehicle to display lighted headlamps from sunset to sunrise; whenever atmospheric conditions require the use of windshield wipers; during any period of rain, drizzle, sleet, hail, snow, blowing snow, freezing rain, or ground-level fog; or whenever, due to insufficient lighting or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet.

Currently, the use of headlamps is required from sunset to sunrise and at all other times when conditions such as fog, snow, sleet, or rain provide insufficient lighting to clearly see 500 feet ahead.

“This bill basically says that if it is bad enough to put your wipers on it is bad enough to put your lights on,” said Sen. Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge, told the Register.

Sen. Tim Kapuchian, a Republican, told the Register that “This is common sense and I don’t think we need to be in the business of legislating common sense.”

The Iowa Senate is controlled by Democrats.

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