Just when it looked like Idaho might become the latest state to join the growing list of states that outlaw talking on your phone while driving, the legislature steps in to kill it before it has much of a chance to get started.

In an article first printed in the Spokesman Review, Idaho lawmakers passed the first hurdle to help curb the rising numbers of injuries and fatalities while using a phone while driving The new law would have banned driving while talking on cell, unless it was 100% hands free.

A state Senate panel voted 8-1 for the ban. If it passes the Idaho Senate would make it illegal to hold on to your phone while your car is in motion.  You could still talk if you have Wi-Fi or are connected with a single earpiece microphone, but you couldn’t be caught with your phone in your hands while the car is in motion.

“Ticketing drivers for texting is proving too hard to enforce”, said Sen. Marv Hagedorn, of Meridian, who said he’s heard that again and again from law enforcement. “There’s no way they can enforce texting while driving – it’s just impossible,”

Over the last few years according to statistics from the Idaho Transportation Department, injuries and deaths due to cell phone use while driving continues to soar in the state of Idaho.

The bill that passed the committee went further than to ban talking and driving, it also would banned people younger than 21 or those driving with a learner’s permit from using their cell phones while driving period...not even hands-free.


Apparently the new law went a step or two too far for the Idaho Senate, which killed the bill citing government overreach Wednesday on a 22-13 vote.

In an article that appeared in the Spokesman Review, Sen. Dan Foreman,  of  Moscow says, “The people of the state of Idaho do not want to lose their ability to legally use their electronic devices – whether that’s safe or not by any technical definition is a moot point in my mind.”

Senate Transportation Chairman Bert Brackett, spoke in favor of the bill, saying: “This would have changed my behavior if this bill had passed.” He compared it to the seat belt law. “The seat belt is to protect yourself, what we’re talking about is protecting others. … My rights stop at the point that I endanger others.”

But Sen. Steve Vick, called the bill “another example of overreach.” He said, “I think we have better things to do than look for people whether they’re wearing one earbud or two earbuds when they’re driving down the road.”

So for this year at least, we will have no new law banning talking and driving