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Statewide handheld device ban bill could be on the docket for 2020

COMPASS included getting the ban passed into Idaho law as one of the organization's priorities for this year's legislative session.
Credit: KTVB file

BOISE, Idaho — A recently-imposed ban on using phones or other handheld devices behind the wheel in Meridian could be implemented across Idaho, if lawmakers agree to take up a proposed bill. 

COMPASS, the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho, included getting a state-wide hands-free statute passed into Idaho law as one of the organization's priorities for the 2020 Idaho Legislative Session. 

The session is set to begin Monday, with Gov. Brad Little's State of the State address. Lawmakers have not yet indicated whether they will take up the initiative. 

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

Meridian's city ordinance makes use of a cell phone or other handheld device while driving punishable by a $90 fine, plus court costs. Although the new rule was passed by the Meridian City Council back in October, police at first issued drivers warnings instead of tickets, beginning official enforcement of the ordinance Jan. 1.

Idaho law already outlaws texting while behind the wheel, but the new ordinance extends that ban to sending texts or checking a phone while at stoplights or stop signs.  

Ada County commissioners have also expressed interest in expanding the ordinance to the entire county. 

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