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Hailey Considers Hands-Free Cell Phone Ordinance

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Officials in Hailey say it could become the third city in Idaho to prohibit motorists from picking up their cell phones while driving.

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

This week's Idaho Mountain Express reports Hailey City Council "expressed unanimous support" for a hands-free ordinance, but exactly what the ordinance would look like is still being crafted by the city's legal team. Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter told the council that as many as 15 car crashes each year can be attributed to cell phone use.

The Mountain Express reports Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle indicated the city's ordinance should probably make the violation a misdemeanor offense, similar to inattentive driving, which would carry a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail.