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Idaho News

Meridian First City In Treasure Valley To Pass Handheld Driving Ban

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Idaho currently bans the use of texting and driving, but Meridian’s City Council decision extends the restrictions for devices.

“Using the device for emailing, for social media, for searching through a directory, taking a picture while driving, filming while driving, lots of things that the state law didn’t envision when it was passed," said Matthew Conde of AAA Idaho.

Other cities like Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Hailey and Ketchum have passed similar bans but in Meridian there wasn’t unanimous support. Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd cast the tiebreaking vote on Tuesday to approve the city ordinance.

Still, Conde said the Meridian ban is creating a patchwork of city ordinances and could create confusion in the valley.

"This is a large city, people are passing through Nampa and Boise commuting to and from work," said Conde. "A lot of people are going to be driving through Meridian and so it is going to create some serious issues that the state needs to look at."

Conde said although the ban still allows for hands-free devices — which can lead to distracted driving — it's a step in the right direction.

Police in Meridian will now begin pulling over drivers using hand-held devices to educate them about the new ban. Starting in January, violations will cost $90. 

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