A new statewide survey shows that 87 percent of Idahoans favor a ban on texting while driving – including 78 percent who say they'd strongly support it. “It's higher than we would've guessed,” said Dave Carlson, spokesman for AAA of Idaho, which commissioned the statewide poll by Riley Research Associates of Portland. Yet Idaho lawmakers, who've struggled with the issue for the past two years, still haven't passed anything and Idaho doesn't ban texting while driving, unlike at least 30 other states.
“I've already got a texting bill sitting on my desk that I had drawn up,” said Idaho Senate Transportation Chairman Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene. “I hope we can move forward with it, just to take care of those concerns.”
Two years ago, a texting-while-driving ban was killed on the final night of Idaho's legislative session, despite having won majority support in both houses, when then-Rep. Raul Labrador, now a congressman, used a parliamentary maneuver to require a two-thirds vote in the House. The bill got a 37-30 majority - not two-thirds. Last year, Rep. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, proposed compromise legislation he described as “truly a piece of sausage” that would have banned texting if it distracted the driver, but not if it didn't; that didn't pass.
“I think we've tripped over the details,” Carlson said. “There's been a naysayer for every bill that's been brought, including, as you might recall, AAA last year, because we were hoping for something a little bit stronger.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.