BOISE, ID – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter on April 5 signed into law a bill that bans texting while driving. The new law takes effect July 1.
Idaho became the 37th state to prohibit texting behind the wheel by all drivers. Violators face a $85 fine.
The Idaho Senate and House passed the legislation this year after three years of unsuccessful attempts to adopt such a ban, the Spokesman-Review newspaper reported. Support for the legislation this year drew strong support from public safety advocates, law enforcement groups and the insurance industry.
Attention to the issue also grew in January, after an Idaho freeway crash claimed the life of 18-year-old Taylor Sauer of Caldwell, Idaho. The fatal crash occurred while she was texting. During committee hearings in both the Idaho Senate and House, members of Sauer’s family offered emotional testimony about the need for such a ban.
Law enforcement, fire and emergency services personnel are exempt from the ban while engaged in their duties. In addition, the ban doesn’t apply to texting that’s conducted through the use of voice-activated or hands-free devices.