HAILEY, Idaho (KLIX) Drivers going through Blaine County will need to leave the cell phone alone as deputies begin to enforce a new ban. The sheriff's office has started enforcing the new cell phone ordinance that is broader than the state law prohibiting texting while driving.

Drivers are asked to put down your phone and focus on driving for everyone’s safety.

The Blaine County ordinance was passed by commissioners in November that makes the use of hand-held electronic mobile device an infraction that could get a driver a $100 fine. The actual code states: the use of cell phones or hand-held mobile devices while driving a motor vehicle can distract the driver and create hazards for the driver, other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. This includes: talking, listening, typing, sending, or receiving electronic messages, performing commands or prompts, or any other type of activity where a hand-held mobile device is being used while driving.

Essentially drivers cannot hold their phone to use it. If a call must be made it has to be done with a hands free device. Blaine County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Steve Harkins pointed out,

Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. In 2014 alone, 3,179 people were killed in distracted driving crashes. Clearly, there is no phone call, text, or email worth your life or the lives of others.” Many times the impulse to look or respond to messages is such a habit, that drivers don’t take the time to consider the consequences. “It’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Harkins and “we’ve seen far too many accidents where distracted driving was the most likely cause. The public’s safety is our top priority.”

The county says it will be stopping people who violate the ordinance and will educate people if need be. Chief Deputy Harkins says “Drivers are asked to put down your phone and focus on driving for everyone’s safety.” Please remind yourself, family, and friends, to “Just drive—it can wait”!