Both Houses of the South Dakota legislature have passed "wink and a nod" legislation dealing with texting while driving. The Senate and House versions are slightly different so will have to be reconciled. However both versions are so weak they will be ineffective.

There is ample scientific evidence proving texting while driving is extremely dangerous. Some public safety people have describe the selfish act of texting behind the wheel as worse than driving under the influence.

Yet our legislators seem to be distracted from that evidence and comments from people who make their living dealing with public safety. The House version strips local governments from their own texting bans. The same version makes the selfish act of paying more attention to texting than driving a secondary offense, meaning public safety people can't stop a person for texting, if that person is not violating any other laws. The Senate version is not much better.

Imagine this: A law enforcement officer sees a person drinking from a bottle of beer while driving. They may not be swerving or violating any traffic laws but they are clearly drinking. Based on the logic being used in Pierre the cops should not be able to stop that person because they are not violating any other traffic laws.

Kind of outrageous isn't it.

Ironically, the person responsible for the horrible accident in Sioux Falls in July of 2012 which caused the city to enact its ordinance on texting was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in prison. The guilty party was texting and speeding down a major street. He hit four cars and caused the death of a motorcyclist. I repeat he was texting and speeding.

Legislators should put their cell phones down. They need to pay attention to what is happening around them.

The ban on texting should be a primary offense, and it should not ban cities from enacting tougher bans.

Anything less proves legislators are not paying attention, and should be held accountable.








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