The Iowa City Police Department has issued its first ticket for texting while driving to a University of Iowa student who police say was texting and under the influence of alcohol when she rear-ended another vehicle on the Fourth of July.
Jillian Kelsey Carmoney, 20, of Iowa City, was arrested on suspicion of operating while intoxicated after officers said she rear ended a vehicle near the intersection of Highway 6 and Keokuk Street, according to a criminal complaint.
Carmoney was in a black Mercedes SUV at 11:15 p.m. on Wednesday when police were called about the accident. Upon arrival, officers smelled alcohol, and Carmoney failed sobriety tests, according to the complaint. Her blood alcohol content level tested at .166, police reported.
She admitted to texting while driving, according to the report.
Iowa joined 38 other states about one year ago by enacting some form of texting-while-driving ban. But few people have been ticketed, and some officers say there are enforcement difficulties that come with it being a secondary offense in Iowa and hard to prove.
The Iowa State Patrol issued 97 texting warnings to drivers between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011. Troopers issued 96 tickets and another 48 texting warnings between July 1, 2011, when the new law officially went into effect, and the beginning of June.
The Linn County and Johnson County sheriff’s offices had issued just one texting-while-driving ticket each through that period. Neither the Cedar Rapids nor Iowa City police departments had issued any tickets through the start of June.