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Idaho spent nearly $180,000 to fight distracted driving since 2012

Idaho spent nearly $180,000 to fight distracted driving since 2012

Dustin Hurst
July 29, 2015
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July 29, 2015

Taxpayers spent nearly $180,000 between 2012 and 2015 to fight distracted driving, according to Idaho Transportation Department data.

Using federal funds, ITD spend $60,000 in 2012, $49,160 in 2013, $13,000 in 2013 and $55,000 in 2015 to promote safer driving on Idaho’s roads and highways.

Steve Grant, ITD’s communication manager, explained the point of the campaigns. “We care about minimizing or preventing anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the important task of driving safely,” Grant told IdahoReporter.com last week.

ITD also partnered with private groups or businesses, like KTVB or Idaho Power, to promote safe driving.

Despite the public and private efforts to raise awareness, distracted driving remains a significant contributor to wrecks and accidents in Idaho. In 2012, distracted driving caused 23 percent of all accidents. That number dropped to 21 percent in 2013, but jumped to 22 percent in 2014.

Through that same span, Idaho drivers continue using their cell phones and other electronic devices behind the wheel, despite a 2012 law banning texting while driving. ITD data revealed electronic devices caused 27 percent of distracted driving accidents in 2014, up from 23 percent in 2013 and 24 percent in 2012.

House Transportation Chairman Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, told IdahoReporter.com last week he won’t allow efforts to strengthen Idaho’s anti-texting law, but wouldn’t commit to seeking the law’s repeal, either.

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