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Eye On Boise

Senators introduce ‘simple, straightforward’ texting ban

Sen. Jim Hammond (Betsy Russell)
Sen. Jim Hammond (Betsy Russell)

At the urging of its chairman, Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, the Senate Transportation Committee today voted unanimously to introduce legislation to ban texting while driving, making it an infraction. Hammond said the bill is needed "because of great concern among the driving public for an activity that 10 years ago didn't even exist, and that is texting." He said, "It's fine to text, but it's not fine to text and drive at the same time. It's quite a danger."

Lawmakers have struggled to pass such a ban for the past two years without success. "They've all gotten hung up over issues of language and enforcement," Hammond said. "The attempt with this bill is to make it very simple and straightforward and easy to understand. The bill defines what texting is, and says if you are driving and texting, it's an infraction, and if caught you will be cited and fined. It's that simple and straightforward." The measure now will be assigned a bill number and can be scheduled for a public hearing; another bill banning texting while driving, SB 1252, already has been introduced as a personal bill by Democratic Sens. Les Bock and Elliot Werk of Boise and Rep. Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City.

Hammond is co-sponsoring the bill with Senate Health & Welfare Chairwoman Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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