Cellphone in car

At Thursday’s Pocatello City Council meeting, council members approved an ordinance prohibiting the use of a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. Exceptions are provided for using a device in instances such as while in a “voice-operated or hands-free mode,” as a navigational aid, and for emergencies. 

“Being focused on the road is the best way to prevent a crash,” Mayor Brian Blad said. “We all too often hear about crashes where someone was distracted by their phone and this ordinance firmly says that the City of Pocatello takes the issue of distracted driving very seriously.”

Under the ordinance, improperly using a mobile device is punishable as an infraction. Violators will be fined $80 per offense for the first three offenses and a fourth violation in two years is punishable as a misdemeanor.

According to figures compiled since 2015 by the Pocatello Police Department, officers noted texting or cell phone use in roughly 33 percent of the citations for inattentive driving.

The ordinance will go into effect Dec. 12. To view the ordinance, visit bit.ly/2BOtGKA.