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Cd'A to flesh out cell phone proposal

by Tom Hasslinger
| April 13, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Time to talk details.

The city of Coeur d'Alene wants to work out what its cell phone while driving ban would look like should it pass inspection and become law.

Monday, the city's legal team told the General Services Committee said it will look at laws other states have in place and carve from those what Coeur d'Alene's possible cell phone ban would look like should the city want its own ban.

That detailed rule will come back to the committee in two weeks and, pending approval, the City Council could bring it up for adoption in early May.

"My guess is we'll get a lot of feedback from citizens on this topic," said Mike Kennedy, councilman and committee chair. "We really want to get to the details and specifics" of a possible ordinance.

The state does have an inattentive driving rule on the books.

But whether the possible city rule would target just text messaging, or all cell phone use in the car excluding hands-free devices still needs to be worked out. How much the primary or non-primary infraction would cost needs to be figured out, too.

But the committee said during its meeting Monday that since legislation failed at the state level this year, it could be time for the city to enact its own rule.

In two weeks, the city will know what that potential rule will look like.

"I'm concerned that it's a law that sounds good but doesn't work," Coeur d'Alene resident Kevin Zollman told the committee.

He said that the inattentive driving statute should be enough, and said the rule could be unenforceable for police.

"The other person you hit is just as injured," he said about distracting driving accidents, whether caused by cell phones or anything else.

But the committee said it's worth it to keep exploring, at least for now.

"If we save one life, it's worth a few complaints," said Ron Edinger, councilman and committee member.

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