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September 28, 2012 06:00 PM

Some Drivers Ignore New SF Texting Ban

Sioux Falls, SD

Friday is the first day it is illegal to text, email or browse the web while driving in Sioux Falls. But are drivers taking it seriously?

Over the last two days, KELOLAND News conducted an informal experiment at 41st Street and Minnesota Avenue, one of the busiest intersections in Sioux Falls.

At one o'clock each afternoon, we stood on the southwest corner for exactly 30 minutes and counted the number of people texting or looking at their phones behind the wheel.

On Thursday, before the texting ban was enforced, we counted nine clearly using their phone for purposes other than making a phone call.

Friday, we were back on the same corner at the exact same time and caught 15 drivers clearly ignoring the new ordinance, significantly more than before the ban.

In fact, in the first 10 minutes of our experiment, nine drivers were either texting or looking at their phones as they drove through the intersection.

And drivers we spoke with say they're not surprised people are ignoring the ban.

"I think, to be totally honest with you, they are probably a lot of people who keep it more secretive and keep it out of sight and be on the lookout for police and things like that," Jamie Miller said.

"I think right now it will probably be about the same (number of drivers as before the ban). There might be a few people, but it is more my generation that does it and they don't pay attention to that kind of thing," 20-year-old Devon Sneve said.

Under the ordinance, you can't text, instant message or e-mail from not just your phone but laptops, tablet computers and PDAs, whether you are driving or at a stop light.
    
However, you can still talk on your phone while driving.

If caught, you could wind up with a $95 ticket. If you fight it and the judge finds you guilty, the fine jumps to $260.

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