Safety "A Moot Point" As Idaho Senate Votes Down Bill To Curb Cellphone Use While Driving

Mar 1, 2018

A bill that would've prohibited using handheld devices while behind the wheel failed to pass in the state senate. Despite recent figures showing 64 fatalities in a year linked to using a device while driving, lawmakers worried the bill was a slippery slope to further regulation.
Credit Ford DSFL / Flickr

A bill that would’ve made it illegal to operate a handheld device while driving failed to pass in the Idaho Senate following a lengthy debate.

The bill’s sponsor, Meridian Republican Marv Hagedorn, didn’t hold back when making a case for it.

“Your kids could be driving down the road, and someone is playing on their cell phone – could take ‘em out,” he told his colleagues. “That happened last year, a number of times. Sixty-four people; 64 of our constituents died because someone was misusing their cellphone.”

Despite that figure, lawmakers were leery of the proposal to prohibit using a smartphone or other device while behind the wheel. They saw it as more regulation creeping into Idaho.

Republican Senator Dan Foreman of Moscow was adamant the people of Idaho don’t want to see their phone usage restricted.

“Whether that’s safe or not, by any technical definition, is a moot point,” he announced. “Just look the next time you pull up to an intersection and stop for a red light. Look around. They’re all texting. They’re all on their phones.”

One senator said the solution to distracted driving should be centered on education rather than restriction. The bill eventually went down with 22 senators voting against and 13 supporting it.

For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio