July 1 is the day for most new or changes to existing laws to go into effect.  In 2014 texting and driving was first added to the state statutes.  The 2020 legislature brought changes to the texting and driving law that drivers should know about.  Major Rob Weinmeister with the South Dakota Highway Patrol said there are two main changes.

When the texting and driving law was first passed in 2014 it could not be used as the primary reason for the stop.  Weinmeister said they know it will take time for drivers to learn about the change but it is important to get the word out.

The type of violation will now change and with that will come higher fine amounts.

Driving is something that needs your complete attention.  Devices draw your attention away and can lead to accidents.  Weinmeister said keeping travelers safe is the reason for the change.

The law allows you to hold the phone to your ear to talk, but any data entry other than selecting the contact number into the device must be done under a hands free mode.

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