New Idaho texting while driving law seems supported by public

LEWISTON, ID - An $85.00 fine will be enforced starting Sunday for drivers in the State of Idaho who text while driving.

"I think they should actually enforce it some more," said L.C. Valley resident Nathan Logsdon.

The bill, which was approved by house lawmakers in March, with a 29 to six vote, outlaws texting by all drivers.

"When you're looking at your cell phone, answering your cell phone, dropping the cell phone, you're not paying attention to driving, which is what you should be doing," said L.C. Valley resident Annette Schraufnegel.

"People can't do those two things at one time, they can't drive and text," said LC Valley resident Frank Ehrmantraut. "It's unbelievable what they do on the highways. I moved out here from New Jersey and the accidents were like every other mile, people were just texting, and I come out here and it's starting to move the same way out here."

The Senate Bill 1274 focuses on texting alone and does not mention other common smartphone functions. This means anyone with access to the web or other applications can do so. However, the Lewiston Police Department said that won't stop them from pulling you over.

"Surfing the internet would meet the definition of texting while driving, because you're sending data, you're receiving data, and you're doing that on a hand held device," said Lewiston Police Department Caption Roger Linear . "Essentially, the goal of that code is to eliminate distractions from driving."

Being able to stop drivers from texting alone would discourage the practice and save lives. Although people may continue to send texts while driving, the ban would give officers an avenue to potentially prevent a tragedy.

"It will probably save a lot of lives," said Ehrmantraut. "I'm all in favor of it."

"It's a great idea," said Schraufnagel. "I think people are more apt to pay attention road versus looking at their cell phone."

Thirty-five other states, and the District of Columbia, have nixed texting while driving. Idaho joins them as the 36th.

"I don't know what the statistics are and if it's actually helped with accidents," said Logsdon. "But, I think it's a good idea to at least make it illegal."

Violators will be cited with a non moving traffic violation. That means the ticket would not cost them any point on their license.

The ban on texting and driving goes into full effect on Sunday July 1st.