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Blaine County Bans Hand-Held Cellphone Use While Driving


According to this morning's Idaho Mountain Express, once the newspaper publishes a formal legal notice, it will be illegal to drive while using a hand-held cellphone in Blaine County. The decision came down from the Blaine County commissioners, who voted unanimously Sept. 19 to "prohibit the use of any hand-held mobile electronic devices while driving."

There will be a few exceptions to the ban, including the use of mobile devices "during official duties of police officers, firefighter or emergency vehicle operators." Another exception is for motorists who are using their phone to report a fire, traffic accident, drunk driver or serious road hazard.

Law enforcement said that there would be "a reasonable degree of leniency" while the ban takes effect over the coming months, but the penalty for those caught holding their phones and having a chat while they drive will be a fixed $100 fine.

To date, 46 states, including Idaho, have banned text messaging while driving. Additionally, 14 states prohibit drivers from using cellphones without a hands-free device while driving. In Idaho, only Ketchum and Sandpoint have a hands-free cellphone ordinance—Sandpoint's is a bit nuanced in that it allows drivers to dial phone numbers while driving.