Is the cell-phone ban just the beginning?

By RANDI TYLER/Montana State News

The use of hand-held cell phones while driving was banned in Bozeman beginning on Jan. 17. The new city ordinance requires anyone who wants to talk on the phone while driving to use a Bluetooth or other hands-free device.

The law passed on a 4-to-1 vote of the Bozeman City Commission. Mayor Jeff Krauss was the only voter against the proposed ban. While Krauss agrees that talking on the phone while driving is indeed a distraction, he argues that hands-free devices are not going to help rid distractions while driving. It is the act of talking that is distracting and this law does nothing to limit that.

This begs the question: What other distractions do drivers face that the city can get rid of? Eating, putting on makeup, singing, or having animals or kids in the car are just a few of the distractions that drivers face every day. Is a ban on cell phones just the start of the cure for distracted driving, or can it ever really be cured?

One thing is clear: Bozeman is taking a stand on distracted driving and trying to make the community just a little bit safer for everyone out on the road.

The first 30 days that follow the law being in effect, everyone caught using a non-hands-free device will be issued a warning. After that, a $100 fine will be levied on drivers who violate the ordinance. Cyclists riding on public highways will be subject to this law as well. This law does not apply to drivers on Interstate 90.

Edited by Jodi Wilson.

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