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Lawmen to target distracted driving Thursday

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI)-Law enforcement agencies across the country are participating in a distracted driving engagement called “Connect to Disconnect.”

The Idaho Transportation Department said officers across the country will commit a four-hour long shift targeting distracted driving today.

Later this month, 55 state agencies will work with the Office of Highway Safety (OHS) to dedicate patrols to enforcing Idaho’s new hands-free law.

OHS reports that between 2015 and 2019 there were more than 25,000 distracted driving crashes in Idaho, which killed 237 people.   Nationally, distracted driving was a factor in 9% of all traffic fatalities in 2019.  In Idaho it was 16%.

Idaho’s “Hands Free” law was passed last year.  It bans the use of handheld electronic devices while driving, even while temporarily stopped at a red light or stop sign.  Officers began issuing citations in January.

“Inattentive driving is illegal and dangerous,” said OHS Manager John Tomlinson. “If you need to use your phone’s GPS, enter the address in before you start driving. Check out Bluetooth options for your car so you can talk hands-free, and if you have to read or send a text, pull over and park the car. Choose to leave the distractions behind, stay focused on the road, and drive engaged so you can help save lives.”

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