Boise's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Boise, Idaho | KTVB.com

Blaine County to begin enforcing hands-free driving ordinance

The ordinance makes it illegal to use a handheld device while driving in Blaine County.
Credit: tommaso79 / Thinkstock

HAILEY - Drivers in Blaine County are being told to put their phones down while driving, or they could face a $100 fine.

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office announced on Tuesday that it will soon begin enforcing the county's cell phone ordinance, which makes it illegal to use a handheld device while driving a motor vehicle in the county outside of city limits.

The citation is considered an infraction, similar to speeding.

The sheriff's office says numerous signs notifying drivers of the new ordinance have been installed throughout the county.

"We have given plenty of warnings, but we want to make one last announcement before enforcement begins," Sheriff Steve Harkins said in a statement.

"Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on our roadways," Harkins added. "We have seen too many accidents where cell phone usage was likely the cause. Please put down your mobile devices and wait until you are in a safe and proper place to use them."

Harkins also encouraged drivers to educate their kids, family and friends on the ordinance.

RELATED: Teen driver safety highlighted in national campaign

Blaine County is the first county in Idaho to ban use of mobile devices while driving. Idaho currently bans texting while driving. A bill that would have enhanced the law to include all distracted driving failed in the Idaho Senate in February.

In addition to Blaine County, the cities of Ketchum, Hailey, and Sandpoint have banned use of handheld wireless devices while driving.

For a look at the full text of Blaine County's ordinance, click here.

WATCH: Winning PSA chosen for Just Drive Challenge