City Government

Feb 5, 2013 9:01 AM by Cristy Aranguiz - KPAX News

Put down that phone! Missoula drivers now face fines

MISSOULA - The warning period for those who like to chat on the phone while they drive is officially over and starting today, police will be pulling people over, and for the first time, handing out citations.

The ordinance does allow the use of hands-free devices like Bluetooths, and also makes exceptions for people driving emergency vehicles, people calling for emergency help, operators of two-way radios for work, and drivers who have pulled out of the driving lane and in a complete stop.

The minimum penalty for a first offense will be $100 and for the second offense within 12 months it's $150. But if you use a cell phone and cause an accident, the penalty increases to $350.

City officials say that half of the money collected in fines will be used to put up more signs around the Garden City to educate the public about the cell phone ordinance.

Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Columbia Falls, Great Falls, Helena and Whitefish are among some of the other Montana cities that already have comparable ordinances in effect.

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