City Government

Mobile Phone Law Should Be For All

If driving with a cell phone in your face is like having a six-pack under your belt, would you send a copper out on patrol with six beers in him?

A proposed Ada County ordinance would prohibit SOME drivers from using cell phones while driving, but there would also be exemptions for coppers and other “first responders.”

Today’s modern emergency vehicles are packed with all sorts of electronic devices including radios, computers, telephone links, as many switches and buttons as some airplane cockpits. You cannot “train” someone to safely drive, talk, operate a phone, and check a computer screen.

Meridian recently passed a similar ordinance, but chief Jeff Lavey told the GUARDIAN his officers will have to pull over to use cell phones as a matter of policy, despite the exemption. Hands-free devices are legal for everyone under the ordinance.

Even the state code which bans texting while driving includes first responders. The Ada Commishes are seeking input from citizens according to a story in the IDAHOPRESS.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Lawyers like litigation and appeals
    Nov 16, 2019, 3:14 pm

    Lawyers like litigation and appeals. What lawyer advised a fresh law? Ada should just copy the same law Meridian did. Meridian copied the law from Ketchum/SunValley/Hailey. It’s been challenged in court and survived. Elected Ada leaders just gonna get us into an expensive court battle with an untested law.

    It is a very dangerous problem and should be a $500.00 ticket.

  2. Concerned Neighbor
    Nov 17, 2019, 7:25 am

    Research has shown that hands free is just as distracting as in hand but the law doesn’t ban that.

    First responders are trained drivers and frequently have 5x to 12x more road experience than the rest of us. I’m ok with them driving fast and using “as many switches and buttons as some airplane cockpits” to keep us safe. I’ve ridden along with many of them in multiple cities and they are very safe in how they use them.

    If there is a proposal to not let first responders use tools to do their job then I’d like to see the statistics to back it up. I haven’t found any. OTOH, political assaults against the police have resulted in an additional 5,000 additional traffic deaths each and every year (no tickets = no safety laws enforced or followed).

  3. Concerned neighbor…source please on the 5000 extra deaths?

  4. Boisean Since Forever
    Nov 17, 2019, 10:25 am

    It does not matter what the law says, none of our Boys in Blue will ever issue a citation to another officer. Remember several years ago in Valley county — an officef was literally driving intoxicated, caused an accident that took his life and others? He got a hero’s funeral complete with red & blue flashing lights of dozens and dozens of police cars from all over the state. Had he been a civilian and survived, he would have been charged with vehicular mandlaughter and have spent five years as a guest of the Department of Corrections.
    The only thing a law/policy against police using cell phones while driving would accomplish would be for tabloid journalists to be on the alert for great photos.

  5. I propose hands free burgers and fries as well as other foods, especially tacos. They can be very distracting while driving.

  6. Lawyers like litigation and appeals
    Nov 17, 2019, 12:16 pm

    Concerned neighbor,

    I disagree with your assessment of first responder superpowers of multitasking. In fact many are young with very little experience at much of anything. Youthful over exuberance and inexperienced judgement is a problem in the first resopnder ranks. First responder vehicles are in frequent dangerous/deadly collisions as are medivac helicopters.

    Look to FAA, NTSB, NHTSA, and USAF human factors studies to further destroy this myth of superpowers of multitasking. Nobody has them. Nobody. A lot of people think they do, but they are proven incorrect.

    There is a lot of research and statistical data backing what I say, but just like medical errors, the data is not being brought to the attention of the general public. Huge MSM failure.

    On the other hand I agree communications are very important to Police/Fire/EMS thus some sort of compromise needs to be made. In short do not allow a distraction unless absolutely necessary. The meridian police department’s plan for this seems to be a fairly good one. We should look across the nation and Canada for existing solutions before experimenting with our own interventions.

  7. Concerned Neighbor
    Nov 17, 2019, 3:04 pm

    Don’t confuse true multitasking with mental autopilot of something that you’ve done so many times that it’s muscle memory. Less than 1% of the population can truly multitask. However, many of us have performed some actions so many times that it requires very little mental thought – such as police who drive 50+ hours a week, every week. The ones that I’ve ridden with also tend to pull over before doing anything that requires much attention but need the flexibility to do what they need to when they need to.

    Many police are also ex-military and have gray in their hair by 25. Police work also requires a degree today. Most police have both. They aren’t some kid straight out of high school.

    The basic stat of traffic deaths can be found on wiki. I collect stats as a hobby and follow trend lines – 538 is a great daily read. I work in analytics 🙂 Cause and effect of socioeconomic trends is fascinating partly because society has not improved much since the Roman mob but economics and technology have. We’ve trended past the 50’s anti-authoritative and are entering the 60’s decriminalization phase that is already mixed with the 70’s and 80’s huge rises in crime and increased deaths due to lack of enforcement. The mid 90’s only saw a drop in crime due to the legalization of abortion in the 70’s. I think that drop in crime may hit us again in 10-12 years due to the rise of ML/AI and always-monitored society. Until then we’ve already seen… 5k additional deaths in traffic annually, 50% increase in suicides due to unrealistic expectations (GenY), ongoing violent protests (AntiFa) spreading, decriminalization combined with disarmament ongoing (40% increased assaults due to lack of tools for self defense), etc. And of course don’t forget the idea that all journalists have that the pen is mightier than the sword… until it isn’t, which is too late.

  8. All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others…..George Orwell

  9. Wait!
    Why is this even a question?

    We all know it is bad form to text or talk on the phone WHILE driving.

    And of all of us, the cops know this best! THEY are unlucky people responding to and investigating those collisions.

    And yet they still do it.
    We ALL see it.

    It’s a pretty simple answer.
    And yet I have zero confidence in BPD to regulate themselves– otherwise THIS would not be our topic of discussion.

  10. Fair for all
    Nov 17, 2019, 8:53 pm

    I assume this would be written to include other 2-way systems such as CBradio, service operator comns, taxi drivers, GPS users, etc. ?

  11. And let’s include the fluffy puppy riding in your lap, licking your face.

  12. A hands free law should be no brainer just similar to the need for a law to place speed cameras in school zones.

    Distracted Driving Fatal Crash stats 2017:

  13. Interesting you are not talking about Elaine Clegg coming out in support of Bieter…Game changer?

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