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Bill to ban cell phones while driving defeated by Idaho Senate

The measure would have created a statewide ban on all hand-held devices while behind the wheel.
Credit: KTVB
File photo of someone talking on a cell phone while driving.

BOISE, Idaho — A bill would have required Idaho drivers to put down their cell phones while driving has been defeated in the Idaho Senate.

Senate Bill 1064 would have banned people from using hand-held personal electronic devices while behind the wheel.

“We want people to use the voice-activated technology, we want people to use their GPS, we just want people to use it hands-free while they drive,” Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell said in an interview with KTVB earlier this month.

RELATED: Idaho bill could change the way you use your phone while driving

The bill failed to get out of the Senate on 15-18 vote Tuesday. A similar bill also failed win legislative approval in 2018.

Under the bill, first-time offenders would have been fined $50. A second-time offense would have been a $100 fine and $200 for the third. Those fines could have doubled if you hit someone while using your electronic device.

Opponents argued that there are other distractions that drivers have to deal with and Idaho should rely on its inattentive driving law to punish drivers. Rice says inattentive driving does not address the real problem of people using their cell phones while driving. He says that poses a serious safety hazard for our citizens.

Ironically, the bill's defeat comes on a day when a new Idaho poll showed overwhelming support for a statewide ban on using cell phones while driving.