The Senate Transportation Committee today voted to send a bill that would make texting while driving an offense separate from distracted driving. The committee room was crowded with supporters and opponents, ranging from the members of the House to a family grieving the loss of a daughter from texting.
"This is the year," said Eli Nary with the Boise City Mayor's Youth Advisory Council. "We can come here loaded with statistics, with police officers, with lawyers, with families, with victims, and they would all say the same things: texting while driving kills."
The Idaho Legislature has considered bills in the past that would limit the use of cellphones while operating a motor vehicle, but they've languished in the past over details. If the bill passes it, it will institute a fine for those pulled over and shown to be texting.
Some of those who testified felt this bill was too specific, stating that the current rules against distracted driving already covered texting.
"As a high-school student, I don’t need another law to tell me not to be texting while driving, I already don’t text while driving," said motorcycle-riding teen Natasha Zymantz. "I don’t want my last 'LOL' to be a 'RIP.'"
Sgt. John Gonzalez from the Meridian Police Department and Caldwell Mayor Garrett Nancolas also testified in favor.
"At what point does their right to do this end, and my grandchildren’s right to be safe begin?" asked Nancolas.
The bill now moves to the full Senate.