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(Idaho Falls, ID) – Pretty soon talking on the phone while driving could cost you.
The Idaho Falls Police Department will be out in the community on December 19th looking for people driving with phone-in-hand, talking or texting in violation of city code.
Residents who are spotted using their phones are going to be pulled over, but they won’t get a $100 fine just yet.
Officers will be specifically targeting phone using motorists that day to help educate them about the new hands-free law and to remind them that if they are pulled over after December 31, they won’t get a warning, they’ll get a ticket.
“This is a law that will help save lives,” says Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson. “We want to help people understand that if we see you on the phone, we can pull you over and issue you a citation. The first offense is $100. That may seem like a lot, but if you ask yourself what a life is worth, it really isn’t. Our goal here is not to write tickets, but rather to save lives.”
Driving while on the phone is a primary offense, meaning if police see someone on the phone while driving, they can be pulled over. The first offense is $100. The second is $200 and a third violation is a misdemeanor citation.
The ordinance was passed back in October, but the city has delayed enforcement in order to help educate residents and give them time to get used to putting the phones down, getting hands free devices or Bluetooth enabled equipment to allow them to be in compliance with the new law.
Since October, there have been a variety of news stories about the new law and there has been a social media effort to help make people aware, in addition to mobile electronic reader boards throughout the city.
Since Idaho Falls passed the ordinance, several other cities have also enacted or are considering hands free ordinances including Pocatello and Blackfoot.
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For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, Contact Idaho Falls Public Information Officer Bud Cranor at 702-526-8003.