Back in January, the Idaho legislature passed a bill that further penalized distracted driving. As per the bill, any device use needs to be hands-free in order to prevent extended distraction. Having been signed into law by Idaho’s Governor Brad Little, this new law went into effect statewide on July 1st. To help make sure you know the ins and outs of this new law, the team at Teton Bail Bonds has compiled all the relevant nitty-gritty details. Read on to learn more!

The Reason

Distracted driving has a long history of contributing to motor vehicle accidents across the country, and Idaho is no exception. In fact, with our rural roads, open range, and wild animals, Idaho is a state where you have to stay vigilant even if you are the only car on your rural road. In the “100 Deadliest Days” of 2019, distracted driving played a role in at least a third of all fatalities. With more than 200 deaths attributed to distracted driving from 2014 to 2018, leaving families devastated at a completely avoidable loss, it was clear to legislators and law enforcement that the time had come for a statewide law regarding device use behind the wheel.

The New Law

The new law will be enforced in every city and county throughout Idaho. So, what does it entail? As a basic rule of thumb: if your action takes more than one touch or voice activation, don’t do it!
Stipulations of the new law include:

  • Devices and cell phones can only be used in hands-free mode
  • You can only touch your device to activate hands-free
  • As long as you use one-touch or voice command for activation, you can still use voice-to-text, navigation, and take/make phone calls
  • Full handheld use of your device is only permitted if the car is stopped and pulled off the road or in the case of a necessary emergency situation
  • You cannot touch your device while driving for text, email, internet, apps, or video

Also included in the law is the ability for auto insurance providers to factor in multiple distracted driving citations within the span of three years when evaluating coverage costs.

Enforcement

Until January 1st, 2021, officers intend to use an “education first” approach. The goal of the law is to help to prevent tragic, unnecessary accidents, and by taking the time to help citizens understand the danger that is posed to themselves and to others, officers hope to gain citizen support and awareness around the issue. Past January 1st, citations will be issued statewide for violations of the hands-free law.
(It is important to note that some cities and counties may already have had hands-free laws in place prior to the statewide order; in this case, ticketing may still happen prior to January 1st, as the law has already been established for some time.)

Penalties

Once citations begin, the penalties for violating the law are pretty straightforward:

  • First offense: $75 fine
  • Second offense (within three years): $150 fine
  • Third offense (within three years): $300 fine and a 90-day license suspension

When You Need A Bondsman

If something happens due to this law or another and you should need a bondsman, Teton Bail Bonds is here to support you. Give us a call whenever you need us, and we’ll help you or your loved one secure a bail bond for release.