Cell phone use while driving now banned in Idaho Falls

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IDAHO FALLS — Put your cell phone down when you get in the car. The Idaho Falls City Council has passed a distracted driving ordinance.

The Council voted 7-0 during its Thursday evening meeting to make it illegal to drive while using a cell phone within city limits.

“It’s a growing issue and the sooner we curb this selfish and dangerous behavior the better,” City Councilman Jim Freeman said during the meeting.

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The new ordinance limits the use of cell phones while driving and only allows for hands-free use while operating a vehicle within city limits. This is on top of existing state law that prohibits texting and driving.

“It’s a plague and we’ve got to do something about it,” City Councilman Thomas Hally said.

The ordinance makes driving with a cellphone in hand a primary offense, meaning police may pull people over suspected offenders and issue a citation.

“You can be distracted by anything,” Mayor Rebecca Casper said. “Even a burrito can be dangerous.”

Casper explained that while it is against policy for Idaho Falls police officers to use phones for personal use while driving, it is not illegal to use cell phones for law enforcement purposes.

The fees for violating the ordinance will be finalized at a future meeting.

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