Idaho’s new no-texting-while-driving law official went into effect uly 1, making it an infraction to send or read text messages while driving. Vi-olators could face an $85 fin if cited. Idaho became the 37th state to prohibit the practice when lawmakers approved the bill, three years in the making, ear-lier this year.Most think the new law is a good thing, according to a sur-vey of the state’s registered vot-ers, conducted by AAA Idaho in November 2011; nearly nine in ten Idahoans—about 87 percent—supported a law to prohibit texting while driving. AAA Idaho said the enor-mous public support is fueled by statewide crash data show-ing that 192 people were killed and 1,534 seriously injured in distracted-driving crashes be-tween 2008-2010.The organization, hwever, said it does not expect that the new ban will solve Idaho’s dis-tracted driving problem, but hopes it will send a message that the state has taken a step toward dealing with the prob-lem. So what are the specifics Senate Bill 1274 define “texting” as “engaging in the re-view of, or manual preparation and transmission of, written communications via handheld wireless devices. Thisdefinitio does not include voice-operat-ed or hands-free devices that al-low the user to review, prepare and transmit a text message without the use of their hand except to activate, deactivate or initiate a feature function.”AAA Idaho last week said the organization does not ex-pect law enforcement agen-cies to be in a rush to issue tickets, preferring instead to spend time educating motor-ists and determining how best to recognize the behaviors of texting drivers. The daho State Police is-sued a more ambiguous state-ment, saying ISP troopers who observe a violation of the ban on texting and driving will “take the appropriate ac-tion as they do with any traf-fic code violation”
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