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City of Lewiston News

Posted on: September 25, 2020

UNDERSTANDING DISTRACTED DRIVING IN IDAHO

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What you need to know about the changes in Idaho's Distracted Driving Code.

DID YOU KNOW... 
it is against the law to use handheld/mobile electronic devices while driving? 
That includes when you come to a stop at a traffic light or stop sign. In fact, the only time you can use a handheld device is when you are legally parked.


WHEN DID THIS CHANGE?
This is a change in the state’s distracted driving law (Idaho Code Section 49-1401A) that went into effect on July 1, 2020. However, law enforcement around the state have been given six months to issue warnings and help educate their communities about this. If you get pulled over anytime between July 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021, on the basis of distracted driving, you will receive a pamphlet and explanation on the dangers of distracted driving. Once January 1, 2021, rolls around, violators of this law will receive a $75 fine for their first offense; a $150 fine for a second offense within three years; and a $300 fine, plus possible license suspension up to 90 days, for each subsequent offense. 


WHY IS THIS LAW IMPORTANT? 
Statewide, 21% of all fatal crashes between 2014 and 2018 were due to distracted driving. 

The Lewiston Police Department showed an increase of 49 crashes related to distracted driving during a six month span from 2018 to 2019.

There are six categories for crashes:
1. fatal crashes: when an involved party is deceased;
2. injury crashes: when an involved party is transported for medical attention;
3. non-injury crashes: when no transport is needed;
4. property damage crashes: when fixtures off the roadway are damaged;
5. hit and run crashes: when either party leaves the scene without giving information; and
6. non-reportable crashes: when less than $1,500 in damages is reported. 

Lewiston’s highest increase was in the non-reportable category, with an additional 21 crashes reported. The second highest increase was in the non-injury category, which saw an additional 16 crashes. The third highest increase was in the property damage category, which had eight additional crashes reported. The fourth highest increase was in the hit and run category, which had an increase of six crashes reported. The number of fatal crashes stayed the same at one, and injury crashes dropped by two.

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