Cd'A to revisit cell phone ban

Discussion was tabled because state was considering legislation

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COEUR d'ALENE - Shifting it back into gear. The city of Coeur d'Alene will consider a citywide ban on cell phone use while driving beginning next week, picking up the tabled discussion again since the state didn't enact legislation of its own. "Sometimes we have to be the leader," said Ron Edinger, City Council president. "Personally, I think it's a good safety measure."

COEUR d'ALENE - Shifting it back into gear.

The city of Coeur d'Alene will consider a citywide ban on cell phone use while driving beginning next week, picking up the tabled discussion again since the state didn't enact legislation of its own.

"Sometimes we have to be the leader," said Ron Edinger, City Council president. "Personally, I think it's a good safety measure."

The idea for a new rule was originally pitched by Coeur d'Alene resident Steve Bell, who requested a couple of months ago that the city take a look at banning cell phone use in cars because of safety issues.

The city's General Services Committee said it would let the state take the lead on the regulations, since there had been energy in Boise to implement a new rule during the legislative session.

But whatever energy it had, it died, leaving Coeur d'Alene to take the reins if it wants a cell or texting rule of its own.

"I think it's necessary," said Micaela Dehlbom, 18, on the city enacting its own law.

"Driving and texting is dangerous because you're not paying attention. You swerve all over the road."

AT&T reports that drivers who drive and text at the same time are 23 more times as likely to be involved in an accident.

AAA Idaho said it hopes statewide legislation on the matter is enacted next year.

The city's legal team said during previous discussions that it would be legal for the city to craft its own rule, although the state does have an inattentive driving statute.

"That surprises me," said Mike Kennedy, councilman and General Services Committee chair, after he learned the legislation died down in Boise. "I thought it had a lot of energy at the state level."

He added he would be in favor of opening up the talks again.

Any details on if the potential rule would include talking or just texting and driving and how much the infraction would cost would still need to be worked out, as it's still only in the discussion stage.

It will go before the General Services Committee at noon Monday in the Community Room of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. The committee could forward the topic on to the City Council for further discussion.

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