Is More Than Half of Idaho Still Texting and Driving?
If you get caught texting and driving, do you know how much it can cost you?
It's a scary thought. More than half of drivers around us on the road could be texting and driving instead of paying attention to our need to pass, merge, or slow down to turn. Idaho has had a texting and driving ban in place long for months, but it hasn't put a stop to it.
I mean, we all see it. We'll be setting at a light and when we look over at the driver next to us, they're texting, posting, or doomscrolling while they wait for the 2-minute light to change. More than half of drivers admit to texting and driving, especially when they're alone in the car. Even if we're just picking up the phone to make a hands-free call, we might see a text that we feel compelled to answer real quick. No one is immune.
The idea of a text hangover really shocked me. It's how long your mind stays distracted even after you put the phone down, and there is no escaping it.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said drivers can experience a hangover effect that keeps the mind occupied for up to 27 seconds after using a device to send text messages, make phone calls or update social media. It could be a smartphone or it could be voice-to-text, but either way, it adds 27 seconds to our distracted driving problems.
The City of Boise posted on its website the penalties that a driver can face if they're caught violating the hands-free law:
1st offense - $75 fine, with court costs = $131.50.
2nd offense within three years - $150 fine, with court costs = $206.50.
3rd and subsequent offenses within three years - $300 fine, with court costs = $356.50.
Three offenses in three years can also lead to a license suspension of up to 90 days.
I doubt that anyone starts out on a mission determined to text and drive, but once the phone dings and begs to be checked, fingers and eyes get sucked in in a hurry. I love the City of Boise's advice to let the passenger be the designated texter. And if the driver is alone, well, that takes some willpower.