People who use their cellphones while driving have one month left to stop before the city of Havre’s new ban takes effect.
One month from today, officers will be able to pull over drivers they see using a cellphone on the road.
In that month, the city is taking some pre-emptive steps to ease people through the adoption of the new law.
The Havre Police Department set up a booth at the Great Northern Fair this summer to let people know the change is on its way, talking with fair-goers and distributing an informational pamphlet.
Gabe Matosich, acting police chief, said that the department has copies of the pamphlet at the police department and encourages anyone with questions to call in and clarify what the change will mean.
Matosich also said the department would be offering a grace period of a few months, starting on Saturday, Oct. 1, during which drivers will be pulled over but only warned.
“We’re not going to just go out and hammer you, ” Matosich said.
The warning period has not been definitively set yet, but Matosich said he would be discussing with his officers exactly how long those warnings will be issued.
Warnings will come not just from a police officer standing outside a car window on the side of the road, but also through a series of signs that Mayor Tim Solomon said will be placed at all of the entrances to the city, like on U. S. Highway 2, in the Highland Park area and coming from the south on 5th Avenue.
The mayor said the city is working on setting the fines for infractions once the grace period is over. As the ordinance is currently written, the offense is tied to generic state misdemeanor penalties, which include a fine of up to $500.