There is a good reason for Idaho's new hands-free law which went into effect in January. According to the Idaho Transportation Department, between 2015 and 2019 there were more than 25,000 distracted driving crashes in Idaho in which 237 people were killed.

April is recognized as "Distracted Driving Awareness Month" which is why you may see police cracking down on this law more than ever before. In fact, Idaho patrol officers committed to a four-hour shift yesterday on April 8th specifically to enforce Idaho's new hands-free law targeting distracted drivers. This effort by The Idaho Transportation Department Office of Highway Safety is a part of a nationwide initiative called Connect to Disconnect.

The hands-free law was passed by the Idaho Legislature in the summer of  2020. Up until this year, police have only been issuing warnings and educating drivers about the new law. In January they began issuing citations. The law bans the use of handheld electronic devices while driving including while stopped at a red light or stop sign. Fines for the offense are a bit hefty starting at $130.

"Distracted driving is our number one cause of our crashes," Lieutenant Chris Weadick with ISP said. "And anything that we can do to reduce our crashes, and to have drivers focus on instead of their electronic devices, that really promotes public safety, it really promotes highway safety." Which is where the hands-free law comes into play.

On a personal note, I totaled my car about a month car because of distracted driving. Thankfully no one was hurt and I was the only one involved. It was literally me, an open parking lot, and one light post and I managed to smash into it. I was 100% focused on the phone that was in my lap. I was more embarrassed and disappointed in myself than anything.

Since then, I have begun taking distracted driving more seriously. If I were you though I would not recommend waiting for a wake up call like I did. Stay off your phones. It can always wait.

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