As we enter the New Year, texting while driving bans will start taking effect in more KELOLAND communities.
That doesn't necessarily mean people will drop the habit. A Watertown AT&T store has had more people asking about legal ways to send a message behind the wheel.
"There's been kind of more of an influx in the past couple months here as far as people wanting to see options to be hands-free when they're driving around town or when they're going on trips," store employee Seth Mayer said.
Mayer has worked in the mobile phone store a couple years and has seen interest in the products increase when texting bans pass. He noticed the trend when bans started popping up in surrounding states, then Sioux Falls and now Watertown.
Earpieces the store sells allow a person to send and receive messages through verbal commands without touching a phone.
"It's just completely hands free so it would be just like voice dialing. It's just voice texting," manager Jackie Duncan said.
Duncan says the store participates in an AT&T campaign to stop texting behind the wheel. That said, texting has become more popular so she's not surprised people are asking about ways to send and receive messages in a car while still complying with the new city law.
Watertown's ordinance doesn't take effect until next month. And when it does, workers in the store expect to field more questions about hands free texting.
"There will be more coming in just because of the ease of use of a headset,” Mayer said. “It's going to be a safety precaution that they can take."
The store also has phones that will send out automated messages to someone trying to get a hold of you, letting them know you're driving. Management expects some people to use those more often when this law takes effect.