Montana Only State without Ban on Cell Phone Use While Driving - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Montana Only State without Ban on Cell Phone Use While Driving

Posted: Updated:
MISSOULA - Montana is now the only state in the nation that doesn't ban drivers from using cell phones after a new law in South Carolina took effect this week.

Montana Highway Patrol data show cell phone usage contributed to more than 1,600 crashes between 2004 and 2013.

"It's no secret that if you're using your cell phone, your attention is being distracted from the roadway," said Sergeant Chad Dever of the Highway Patrol.

Dever said after working 13 years with MHP, he's seen his fair share of car crashes related to distracted driving.

"Driving isn't hard, but if you're not paying attention, it can be very deadly," Dever said.

In Montana, there has never been a state-led initiative to ban cell phone usage while driving, even though studies show it increasing the chances of crashing by 400-500%.
 
"A person involved in a crash using their cell phone may not admit that they were on their phone and it's very difficult to prove in a lot of cases," Dever said.

Forty-four states ban texting while driving for all ages, while a handful of others ban it for young or inexperienced drivers. Montana lawmakers have proposed legislation banning cell use while driving in recent years, but those attempts ultimately failed.

"As a long enforcement agency, we'll gladly enforce any law that keeps people safe on the roadways."

Dever said until there is a statewide ban, troopers can enforce municipal ordinances on cell use while driving, and other related laws.

"We do have laws such as careless driving that covers that," Dever said.

A Democratic state senator in Helena is planning on proposing another bill to ban cell phone use while driving during the 2015 legislative session.

There are currently about a dozen ordinances in Montana cities and counties banning cell phone use while driving.

That list includes Butte, Bozeman, Helena, Whitefish, Hamilton, Silver Bow, Great Falls and Billings.

In Missoula, the ban went into effect in December of 2012.

First-time offenders pay a $100 fine, and penalties increase to at least $350 if a driver is involved in a crash while on their phone.

Sgt. Greg Amundsen, Missoula Police Department, said, "You know, for a small town, we have relatively heavy traffic during the day and you do need to be paying attention, and I'm thinking it would certainly help reduce the number of crashes we have if people paid more attention in general while they're driving."
  • NationalMore>>

  • CDC director to visit Ebola outbreak countries

    CDC director to visit Ebola outbreak countries

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:35 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:35:40 GMT
    A top U.S. health official plans to travel to West Africa to see firsthand how the Ebola outbreak is unfolding.
    A top U.S. health official plans to travel to West Africa to see firsthand how the Ebola outbreak is unfolding.
  • Woman set reservation fire to give friends work

    Woman set reservation fire to give friends work

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:35 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:35:39 GMT
    The U.S. Justice Department said Friday an Oregon woman pleaded guilty in May to starting a wildfire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation last year because her firefighter friends were bored and needed work.
    The U.S. Justice Department said Friday an Oregon woman pleaded guilty in May to starting a wildfire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation last year because her firefighter friends were bored and needed work.
  • Ebola: Care and recovery of 2 American aid workers

    Ebola: Care and recovery of 2 American aid workers

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:35 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:35:16 GMT
    Two American aid workers have recovered from Ebola and left an Atlanta hospital, after weeks of intensive treatment in a special isolation unit.
    Two American aid workers have recovered from Ebola and left an Atlanta hospital, after weeks of intensive treatment in a special isolation unit.
  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Friday, August 22 2014 3:10 PM EDT2014-08-22 19:10:39 GMT
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
  • Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-08-16 01:03:47 GMT
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
  • 2013 Spokane Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade Winners

    2013 Spokane Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade Winners

    Sunday, May 19 2013 10:30 AM EDT2013-05-19 14:30:26 GMT
    KHQ.COM - The results of the 2013 Spokane Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade are coming in. We'll post them as we get them.
    KHQ.COM - The results of the 2013 Spokane Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade are coming in. We'll post them as we get them. In the meantime, if you have any photos from Saturday night's parade and want to submit them for a slideshow, please send them to pix@khq.com 
  • LOOK: Faces Of WA State's Missing People

    LOOK: Faces Of WA State's Missing People

    Thursday, February 27 2014 11:49 AM EST2014-02-27 16:49:33 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The missing persons listed in this slideshow resided in the state of Washington at the time of their disappearance or may have traveled to Washington State. These pictures came from Washington State Patrol's website. If you have any information about any of these missing people call 1-800-543-5678.
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The missing persons listed in this slideshow resided in the state of Washington at the time of their disappearance or may have traveled to Washington State. These pictures came from Washington State Patrol's website. If you have any information about any of these missing people call 1-800-543-5678.
  • PHOTOS: Harvest 2014

    PHOTOS: Harvest 2014

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:18 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:18:43 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One of the great parts about living in Spokane, is if you head out of town in any direction, you're going to run into some beautiful farm land. I grew up south of Spokane, near Plaza, and one of my favorite things to do was to sit on the porch at night and stare south towards Rosalia at all of the rolling hills of wheat, lentils, barley and peas. 
    SPOKANE, Wash. - One of the great parts about living in Spokane, is if you head out of town in any direction, you're going to run into some beautiful farm land. I grew up south of Spokane, near Plaza, and one of my favorite things to do was to sit on the porch at night and stare south towards Rosalia at all of the rolling hills of wheat, lentils, barley and peas. 
  • Sheriff Deputy Dunn Memorial

    Sheriff Deputy Dunn Memorial

    Thursday, August 21 2014 8:43 PM EDT2014-08-22 00:43:09 GMT
    Full coverage from the memorial of Deputy Joe Dunn.

    Full coverage from the memorial of Deputy Joe Dunn.


  • PHOTOS: Flash flooding & mudslides trap people in Okanogan County

    PHOTOS: Flash flooding & mudslides trap people in Okanogan County

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:05 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:05:03 GMT
    OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash.- A Washington state trooper says floods and mud slides triggered by heavy rain on wildfire-burned terrain in north-central Washington have blocked portions of two highways, stranding some motorists.
    OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash.- A Washington state trooper says floods and mud slides triggered by heavy rain on wildfire-burned terrain in north-central Washington have blocked portions of two highways, stranding some motorists.
  • One Dead In Crash North Of Whitefish

    One Dead In Crash North Of Whitefish

    Thursday, August 21 2014 4:11 PM EDT2014-08-21 20:11:40 GMT
    Glacier National ParkGlacier National Park
    A 23-year-old woman is dead and two other people are in serious condition following a crash on Highway 93 north of Whitefish that snarled traffic for over two hours.
    A 23-year-old woman is dead and two other people are in serious condition following a crash on Highway 93 north of Whitefish that snarled traffic for over two hours.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.