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Got a call to make or a text to answer? Better not do that while you’re driving.

As of July 1, a new state law went into effect, that makes holding a cell phone illegal while operating a vehicle. This law applies in every Idaho city and county. ISP law officials will issue warnings through Dec. 31. Citations can be issued beginning Jan. 1, 2021. 

Idaho State Code 49-1401A, requires electronic devices be in hands-free mode while driving, including when stopped at a red light or stop sign.

The new law, HB 614, is intended to "address safety concerns associated with a significant portion of distracted driving crashes," according to Idaho State Police (ISP).

"ISP will do our part to enforce when necessary, but we're asking every Idaho driver to take it upon yourself and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of others around you. Keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, your mind on driving, and together we'll keep Idaho safe," said Col. Kedrick Wills, Director of the Idaho State Police.

Penalties for breaking the law could result in fines of $75 - $300. Three offenses in three years can also lead to a license suspension of up to 90 days.

The goal of the new law is to help prevent vehicle accidents that can be caused by distracted driving:

- 241 people killed in Idaho in crashes attributed to distracted driving between 2014 and 2018.

- In 1 in 5 crashes in Idaho, distracted driving is contributing factor.

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