Thursday, February 28, 2013

AP: New Distracted Driving Bill Surfaces

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 9:17 AM

UPDATE: 11 a.m.

The Idaho House, before considering HB 155, which would have restricted cell-phone/texting usage for new drivers, pushed the measure back to the House Transportation Committee Thursday morning.

House Transportation Committee Chairman, Meridian Republican Rep. Joe Palmer requested to take another gander at the bill, saying there was a possible problem with its wording.

The original measure, as written, would withhold a new driver's permit an additional six months if the individual was caught using a cell phone or other wireless device within the first six months of obtaining a permit following a driver's education class.


The Idaho Legislature is sharpening its focus on distracted drivers again.

After considering several bills in the past, the Legislature passed a texting-while-driving ban in 2012.

Some who testified against the measure, which became law in Idaho on July 1, 2012, felt the bill was too specific, stating that the current rules against distracted driving already covered texting.

"As a high-school student, I don’t need another law to tell me not to be texting while driving, I already don’t text while driving," said motorcycle-riding teen Natasha Zymantz.

But the Associated Press reports this morning that the 2013 Legislature "hopes to make further inroads in combating distracted drivers by prohibiting young drivers from using cellphones and other wireless devices during a six-month period following the successful completion of driver training."

The penalty would be witholding teens' licenses for another six months.

The bill has narrowly cleared the House Transportation Committee by a 9-7 vote and is awaiting consideration from the full House before it can proceed to the Senate.

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