One Idaho senator wants everyone to hang up their cell phones when driving through school zones. Pocatello Democratic Sen. Diane Bilyeu introduced a proposal this week that would fine drivers $75 for talking on a cell phone or sending a text message while driving in a school zone when children are present.
“I think it’s very dangerous for people to be using cell phones (while driving) and I am particularly concerned about school zones, where there are kids,” Bilyeu said. Her proposal wouldn’t apply while cars are stopped, or when drivers are reporting an emergency or crime over their cell phones. Law enforcement would also be exempt. Illinois and Texas have similar school zone bans and six states ban hand-held cell phone use, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.
Bilyeu’s plan has yet to be assigned a committee to review it, but it will likely go to the Senate Transportation Committee. The chairman of that committee, John McGee, R-Caldwell, said he’s more focused on dealing with text messaging this legislative session, and wants to wait before making new laws about talking on cell phones while driving.
McGee has said that he will work with law enforcement and other stakeholders to write a law this session creating a texting-while-driving ban. Democratic Sen. Les Bock of Boise introduced a texting-while-driving ban in the Senate Thursday, but McGee said the final plan will likely be different than Bock’s bill.
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