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Meridian residents react to new hands-free ordinance: 'I think it's a great deal'

If caught violating the new ordinance, drivers will pay $90, plus court costs, which adds up to nearly $150.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — The new year has arrived and one resolution drivers might want to consider is to put their distracted driving habits to rest.

The city of Meridian is trying to help that become a reality by ticketing drivers who are on their phones. It’s through the city’s new hands-free ordinance passed in October.

“I think it's a great deal,” supporter Jamie Murphy said. “I see way too many people looking at their phone when they should be driving, distracted. I think it will be wonderful.”

City residents that talked to KTVB were supportive.

“We're always behind the times and this is being enforced in other states,” Meridian resident Randy Reed said. “I think it is a good safety measure.”

Although most agreed that the ordinance is necessary, some questioned how it will be enforced.

“Probably easier at night when they can see the glow of your cell phone off your face,” Reed said.

RELATED: 'The primary thought is safety': Meridian Police to start ticketing for hands-free ordinance on Jan. 1

Murphy shared her concerns about possible enforcement.

“Hopefully they find a good way to see that and figure it out,” she said.

Cops will be out looking for other road violations, and while they’re doing that, they will also look for drivers on their phones.

“An officer might be at a location looking for people running red lights, or not staying in their lane or not performing a legal turn or something to that effect," Meridian Police Sgt. Brandon Frasier said. “We also observe that person is on their phone which is usually why they've done whatever they did that was improper in the first place.”

RELATED: Nampa postpones consideration of ordinance banning handheld phone use while driving

Violations of the new hands-free law will result in a $90 fine, but with court costs, drivers could end up paying nearly $150, according to Frasier.

“Maybe a little steep, it's more than a speeding ticket it seems like,” Reed said. “But if it’s too cheap then people don't pay attention.”

Ada County is also looking at passing a hands-free ordinance for the entire county.

RELATED: Ada County commissioners move to ban handheld devices while driving

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