MERIDIAN-- Texting while driving may soon be illegal in the city of Meridian, but it will have to wait at least a week.
Tuesday, the Meridian City Council delayed voting on the ban until the October 12th meeting. The City Council said they wanted to wait so they could add another definition of wireless handheld device.
The goalis to make driving safer for everyone by discouraging some behaviorsand hopefully decreasing accidents.
But opinions differ in whether a law will help.
Meridian's mayor and city council are leaning towards a law that would prohibit any cell phone use, outside of phone calls, as the motivation drivers need to focus on the task at hand.
We want to make sure we have a tool in place, that if we stop somebody doing something that is potentially going to be unsafe, we can stop them, and we can take the measures prior to an accident, and prior to somebody losing their life, said Meridian Police Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea.
Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney says that a new law is not necessary since cell phone use while driving is already bundled into an inattentive driving law.
Beyond that, Raney says research shows that accidents have actually increased in a few states where the ban is law.
The solutions are hard to identify, and that's why I think a lot of organizations, with good intent are relying upon, well, 'Let's create a law,' said Raney. But when we know from the research that that law actually increases the number of crashes, to me it's just not the right answer.
Raney says more education, teaching teens of the danger, will change their behavior more than a law on the books.
Even though these two men differ on how to get to a safer roadway, they do have the same goal in mind.
The city council is set to vote on an ordinance tonight.
If it passes, the city says it would make a driver's first and second offense an infraction --punishable by a $75 fine.
A third violation could result in misdemeanor charges -- punishable with a $300fine, or even a 90-day jail sentence, or in some cases, both.
If it goes through it could start being enforced beginning Nov. 1.
On Friday, a texting while driving ban went into effect in Twin Falls.
Check back later for an update to this story.