Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous behaviors a person can take part in. The dangers of distracted driving are well-documented, and in response, legislation across the country has attempted to eliminate this hazard from the nation’s roads.
Conversations about distracted driving mainly focus on the danger of using a phone behind the wheel, but distracted driving can involve a lot more than texting. Talking on the phone, using a navigation app, operating a radio, eating and drinking, and even speaking to passengers all distract drivers and can be just as dangerous as texting.
Most states’ distracted driving laws do not account for other forms of distractions outside of phone use, and Idaho is included. Idaho’s law only prohibits texting and driving, however, other phone use is allowed. Idaho drivers who are holding their phone to make a call, pull up directions, or listen to music are legally permitted to do so. All hands-free devices and distractions that do not involve a cell phone are allowed as well.
Some towns in Idaho have attempted to circumvent the less-comprehensive state legislation with their own stricter statutes. Pocatello, for example, outlawed all phone use that does not involve a hands-free device. Any drivers in Pocatello, or in towns with their own similar ordinances, can be pulled over and receive a ticket if they are seen with a cellphone in their hand while behind the wheel.
Pocatello is one Idaho town that is taking the lead on protecting its residents against the dangers of distracted driving, despite more lax regulations statewide. Hopefully, the town’s ban on handheld devices will decrease the frequency of distracted driving accidents in the area.