Keep Idaho Hands-Free; Extra Patrols On The Road Looking For Distracted Drivers, Including Those Using Devices

IDAHO STATE POLICE NEWS RELEASE

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

The Idaho State Police are joining dozens of other Idaho law enforcement agencies in a statewide effort to remind Idahoans of the dangers of distracted driving.

Beginning today and continuing through April 30, extra ISP patrols will be on the road in an effort to educate motorists and enforce Idaho’s distracted driving laws, particularly Idaho’s law that prohibits driving while using a cell phone. 

“Any activity that takes your attention away from the road is defined as distracted driving, and it only takes a moment or two for a distraction to cause a serious injury crash,” said Lt. Chris Weadick of the Idaho State Police. “Whatever the temptation, the distraction just isn’t worth taking your eyes or your mind away from driving.”

Idaho’s new distracted driving law went into effect July 1, 2020, and allowed citations for violators beginning January 1, 2021. The law forbids drivers from using a cell phone or other electronic device at any time while their vehicle is in operation, even when stopped at a red light. 

3 Types of Distractions: Using a cell phone while driving includes all three types of dangerous distractions:

 – Visual – taking your eyes off the road.
 – Manual – taking your hands off the wheel.
 – Cognitive – taking your mind off what you’re doing.

Here are some of the tips that law enforcement will be sharing with drivers they pull over for driving distracted:

 – If you need to use your phone’s GPS, enter the address in before you start driving. 
 – Look into Bluetooth options for your car so you can talk hands-free. 
 – If you have to read or send a text, pull over and park the car. 
 – Idaho’s hands-free law applies to drivers stopped at traffic lights and stop signs. 
 – Leave the distractions behind, stay focused on the road, and drive engaged so you can help save lives.

“We see folks with their dogs jumping on them, searching for napkins to clean up a spilled soda, and even people watching videos while driving. These drivers not only endanger themselves but their passengers and everyone on the road. And we see the results when those tragic crashes happen. That’s why Troopers feel so strongly that reminding Idahoans to drive engaged and avoid distractions is important,” said Lt. Weadick.

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety has a campaign calls “Shift Idaho”, helping Idahoans reduce distracted driving by encouraging conversations and education about engaged driving. Find more resources at https://shift-idaho.org/.

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