Beginning Wednesday, July 1, it will be illegal for Idahoans to drive while holding a cellphone, a ban that is already in effect in Blaine County and most of its cities.
The law requires electronic devices be in “hands-free mode” while driving, including when the vehicle is stopped at a red light or stop sign. Although the new law takes effect this week, law enforcement will just be issuing warnings between July 1 and Dec. 31, according to a press release from the Idaho State Police (ISP).
Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, Idahoans can face a penalty of $75 for the first offense and $150 for a second offense within three years. Third and subsequent offenses will be penalized $300 and drivers could face a license suspension of up to 90 days for three offenses within three years.
According to ISP, 241 people were killed in Idaho in crashes attributed to distracted driving between 2014 and 2018, and one in five crashes in Idaho have a contributing factor of distracted driving that led to the crash.
In Blaine County, Hailey and Ketchum, all of which created bans on cellphone use while driving in 2016, the fixed fine is $100. In Bellevue, where a cellphone ordinance was passed in February, the fine is also $100. The cities of Sun Valley and Carey do not have cellphone ordinances, but the new state law will now cover those cities, as well as supersede county and city ordinances.