Meridian Bans Handheld Cell Phone Use Behind the Wheel
Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Hailey and Ketchum have already banned the use of handheld cell phones behind the wheel. Until Tuesday night, no cities in the Treasure Valley had passed a similar ordinances.
That changed when Mayor Tammy cast a tie-breaking vote that made Meridian the first city in our area to make any use of a handheld device behind the wheel a punishable offense. According to the Idaho Press, under the new ordinance anyone using a handheld device behind the wheel of a vehicle that is in the lane of traffic will be subject to a $90 fine. The infraction applies to vehicles even when they are not in motion.
The ban comes with public support as nearly three quarters of respondents to a Meridian Nextdoor survey said they thought that using or holding cell phones behind the wheel should be illegal.
The ordinance does not apply if someone is using their phone in a hands-free situation like bluetooth mode, looking for directions without handling the phone (like asking Siri to find directions to the nearest gas station through Apple Car Play) and emergency situations.