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Idaho's New Statewide Ban On Using Handheld Devices While Driving In Effect This Week

Ford DSFL/ Flickr

Cities including Meridian, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Hailey and Ketchum already have bans on using electronic devices while driving. But starting Wednesday, it will be illegal to use devices when behind the wheel everywhere in the state.

“As you're traveling through different cities and counties, you don't have to think about 'oh, let's see, is this hands free? Is this not?' Hopefully everybody's just putting the phone down, but now it's a statewide law,” said John Tomlinson, Highway Safety Manager for the Idaho Transportation Department.

ITD reports distracted driving contributes to one out of every five crashes in the state. Tomlinson said preventing these accidents is the ultimate goal.

“We don't want anybody to be losing their lives here on Idaho roads or anywhere as they're driving and traveling to go visit family and friends," said Tomlinson.

Drivers will only be allowed to touch devices to initiate bluetooth or hands-free mode. Making calls and using GPS is only allowed with one-touch or voice command.

Starting tomorrow, police will begin pulling over drivers using hand-held devices to educate them about the new ban. In January, violators could be fined $75.

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