Friend us on Facebook

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sandpoint Passes Cell Phone Ordinance

From the Bonner County Daily Bee:

SANDPOINT — Cellphone addicts may have to put the brakes on their habits with the passage of a new ordinance banning hands-on mobile device use while driving.

Council members passed the draft ordinance on its third reading after allowing for several months of public comment opportunities.

The ordinance is the culmination of council members Carrie Logan and Marsha Ogilvie’s efforts to implement local or statewide cellphone regulation.

“Even if we just get people to think about picking up the cellphone or texting while driving, at least we’re doing something,” Ogilvie said at the July council meeting. “We’re making a step in the right direction instead of still leaving it up to the state legislators.”

Logan initially proposed the restriction as a ban strictly on texting while driving. However, her original vision cited the action as a primary offense, authorizing officers to initiate a traffic stop.

In its revised form, the ordinance restricts all mobile device use while driving. The broadened parameters stem from Sandpoint Police Chief Mark Lockwood’s concerns that the specific act of texting could be difficult to prove, resulting in weakened case law.

However, the ordinance also downgraded a violation to a secondary offense similar to required seat belt use. That means that officers will need another infraction like speeding to justify a traffic stop but can cite the ordinance for an additional $10 fine.

Cellphone conversations, on the other hand, are still perfectly legal. Once the ordinance is passed into law in 90 days, however, a hands-free set will be required.

Council members like Jamie Brunner and John Reuter, initially hesitant about the ordinance, eventually offered their support after its revision to a secondary offense meriting a small fine. They also expressed hope that the state legislature will address the issue, an action that would void the ordinance.

No comments:

Post a Comment