TRAFFIC — ENFORCEMENT AND GENERAL PROVISIONS
49-1401A. distracted driving. (1) As used in this section:
(a) "Mobile electronic device" means a cellular telephone; broadband personal communication device; two-way messaging device; text messaging device; pager; personal digital assistant; laptop computer; computer tablet; stand-alone computer; portable computing device; mobile device with a touchscreen display that is designed to be worn; electronic games; equipment that is capable of playing a video or recording or transmitting video; or any similar electronic device that is used to initiate, receive, or display communication or information. "Mobile electronic device" does not include a radio designed for the citizens band radio service or the amateur radio service of the federal communications commission or a commercial two-way radio communications device, an information or communication system installed within a vehicle, a subscription-based emergency communication device, or a prescribed medical device.
(b) "Operate" means to drive or assume physical control of a motor vehicle upon a public way, street, road, or highway, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays. "Operate" does not include a motor vehicle that is lawfully parked or that has pulled to the side of or off the road at a location where it is legal to do so and where the vehicle remains stationary.
(2) Except as provided in this subsection, a person shall not operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to:
(a) A law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic, operator of an authorized emergency vehicle, or similarly engaged paid or volunteer public safety first responder during the performance of that person’s official duties, and a public or consumer-owned utility employee or contractor acting within the scope of that person’s employment when responding to a utility emergency;
(b) The use of a mobile electronic device for emergency purposes, including a text messaging device to contact a 911 system; an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency or entity; reporting a fire, traffic accident, serious road hazard, or medical or hazardous materials emergency to appropriate authorities; reporting the operator of another motor vehicle who is driving in a reckless or otherwise unsafe manner or who appears to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or reporting a crime;
(c) The hands-free use of a global positioning or navigation system feature of a mobile electronic device, provided that the operator of the vehicle is not manually entering information into the global positioning or navigation system feature of the device;
(d) The selection of a telephone number or name for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call, provided that the action is performed through one-touch access or by voice command;
(e) The use of a mobile electronic device in a voice-operated or hands-free mode if the operator of the motor vehicle does not use his hands to operate the device, except through one-touch activation or deactivation of a feature or function of the device;
(f) The use of a mobile electronic device by a governmental or commercial user during the performance of that person’s official duties, as long as the mobile electronic device is being used in a similar manner as a commercial two-way radio communication device; or
(g) The use of a mobile electronic device in a farming or ranching operation to assist in the movement of farm tractors, farm equipment, and implements of husbandry from one farm operation to another.
(3) No person shall operate a motor vehicle while watching motion upon the screen of a mobile electronic device, other than motion related to the functioning or navigation of the vehicle.
(4) A violation of this section shall be a moving violation and shall be an infraction punishable by a fine of seventy-five dollars ($75.00) for a first offense and one hundred fifty dollars ($150) for a second offense within a three (3) year period. For each subsequent offense within a three (3) year period, the offender shall be punished by a fine of three hundred dollars ($300).
(5) A court may suspend a person’s driver’s license for up to ninety (90) days if the person has three (3) or more convictions for violations of this section within a three (3) year period.
(6) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to authorize seizure of a mobile electronic device by any law enforcement agency.
(7) A conviction under this section for a first offense shall not result in violation point counts as prescribed in section 49-326, Idaho Code.
(8) A conviction under this section for a first offense that does not involve an accident may not be used to make an adverse eligibility decision by an insurer or for the purpose of establishing rates of motor vehicle insurance charged by an insurer.
(9) A law enforcement officer enforcing the provisions of this section is hereby authorized to utilize a violation of this section as the primary or sole reason for initiating a traffic stop or issuing a citation to a driver.
(10) The state preempts the field of regulating the use of mobile electronic devices in motor vehicles while driving, and this section supersedes any local laws, ordinances, orders, rules, or regulations enacted by any political subdivision or municipality to regulate the use of a mobile electronic device by the operator of a motor vehicle.
(11) This section shall be effective July 1, 2020, provided that only warnings and no infractions shall be issued under this section prior to January 1, 2021.
[49-1401A, added 2020, ch. 260, sec. 2, p. 756; am. 2021, ch. 20, sec. 1, p. 52.]