Statewide Texting Ban Bill Introduced In Pierre
Senate Transportation Committee Chair Mike Vehle of Mitchell introduced a bill yesterday that would ban texting while driving in the state. Senate Bill 142 says no person can operate a motor vehicle on a highway while using a handheld electronic device to write, send, or read a text-based communication. Vehle has introduced similar bills in past legislative sessions. He says he is unsure of how much support his measure will have this time.
Vehle’s bill also prohibits cities enacting ordinances that vary from the state bill. The bill also contains four exemptions – while a driver is parked, to obtain a telephone number, to contact an emergency response vehicle, and to use voice-operated or hands-free technology. A violation of the ban would be a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a 500 dollar fine. Huron, Brookings, Watertown and Sioux Falls all currently have city-wide texting bans.