Texting While Driving Issue Surfaces Again - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Texting While Driving Issue Surfaces Again

COEUR d'ALENE — A Caldwell lawmaker plans to re-dial an attempt to ban texting while driving. Local representatives said they would support it.

Republican state Sen. John McGee, who is drafting a bill, said he expects Idaho to join about 30 other states with similar bans after the 2011 session, rectifying the Legislature's failure to do so in 2010.

If legislation fails again, the city of Coeur d'Alene has already said it would impose its own citywide rule. But local representatives said they're confident the state will take care of the matter itself, either adopting McGee's bill or someone else's.

"I'm very confident it will pass, and texting will become an infraction of some kind," said Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls. "This seemed to be an important issue last year. Why it didn't come up sooner I don't know."

A bill passed the Senate, but died in the House on a technicality after Rep. Raul Labrador objected.

Questions on what the penalty should be or whether a ban would be enforceable since the state already has a distracted driving rule were the center of the debate. Those will be ironed out this year, Sen. John Goedde said.

"I think if we delay anymore, cities will take it up, so it's easier if it's statewide," he said.

If a law does come down, either from the state or the city, 19-year-old Karen Devin said she'd support it.

In fact, the Hayden driver said she's learned from experience that texting and driving don't mix.

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