Hands-free rule gets thumbs down

Print Article

SANDPOINT — A proposed rule requiring motorists to use a hands-free device while driving and talking on their cell phones within the city limits was narrowly defeated Wednesday.

The City Council knotted 3-3 on the proposed legislation and Mayor Gretchen Hellar cast the deciding vote against the measure.

But that doesn’t mean unsafe drivers who are distracted by phone conversations are off the hook. Sandpoint Police Chief Mark Lockwood said existing inattentive or reckless driving statutes can be used to hold distracted drivers accountable.

“I have a tool to deal with it,” said Lockwood, referring to existing laws.

Councilman John O’Hara agreed and also expressed discomfort with the concept of having a phone to your ear serve as the basis for a traffic stop.

“It would be very difficult to enforce on a local basis,” said City Attorney Will Herrington, who conceded that there are already enough complaints from people who feel they’re subjected to police harassment in Sandpoint.

“I don’t understand why it’s impossible to enforce,” said Councilwoman Carrie Logan, who equated it to local parking regulation enforcement. “I don’t see what the issue is.”

Councilwoman Helen Newton proposed the requirement to improve safety. The legislation would have also applied to cyclists and skateboard riders, in addition to banning all forms of text messaging while behind the wheel.

Newton contends signs posted at city limits would advise motorists of the rule. Councilman Michael Boge pointed out that news of the proposal in Sandpoint has made its way all the way down to Boise media outlets.

“A lot of people are looking at this statewide,” he said.

Councilmen John Reuter and Stephen Snedden forecasted enforcement headaches, especially if other municipalities start enacting similar, but slightly different forms of legislation.

“You have these series of differing codes as you drive through these jurisdictions,” said Reuter, who proposed a resolution urging the state to implement the rule.

Snedden, Reutuer and O’Hara voted against the ordinance amendment, while Newton, Logan and Boge voted in favor.

Print Article

Read More News

Sandpoint approves wastewater facility plan

October 20, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — With its aging infrastructure, the city has replaced or rehabilitated nearly a quarter of its wastewater treatment system over the past 10 years. “So the city has done a lot, but there i...

Comments

Read More

Shopping district shaking off the dust

October 20, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee The trucks and dust are gone, and construction season is complete and the Sandpoint Shopping District is ready to celebrate. Downtown businesses are hosting “Dust Off Downtown” on Thursday, Oct. 2...

Comments

Read More

GOP bus tour alights in county

October 20, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee PONDERAY — There is no mystery as to why people are fleeing other states and flocking to the Gem State, according to Idaho GOP candidates and incumbents. “It’s no wonder they’re leaving whatever sta...

Comments

Read More

Mammograms: No reason not to do it

October 20, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Breast cancer was the last thing on Patricia Goullette’s mind. At age 66, she was working part time, building a house and helping to care for her husband, who has medical problems. She was also deal...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 263-9534
PO Box 159
Sandpoint, ID 83864

©2018 Bonner County Daily Bee Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X