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September 06, 2012 05:01 PM

Texting Ban Creates Possible City Revenue

Starting at the end of the month, texting while driving could cost you $200 in Sioux Falls. A Republican Representative thinks this could open up a new revenue stream in the city.

Representative Hal Wick said texting while driving was technically already illegal because of South Dakota's laws against distracted driving.  It is a topic he has given a lot of thought.

"I wouldn't even let my kids listen to the radio, because I felt it was too big of a distraction," Wick said.

Sioux Falls is the first South Dakota city getting specific on texting behind the wheel.  Because of this, according to the Police Department, the money collected in texting while driving fines will go to the city's general fund.

"If it is a state law and a fine while you're driving, that goes to the school districts. So, the school districts will miss out on it if it's a city ordinance," Wick said.

Even though he is not for a city-wide texting while driving ban, he does not think this is just a plan to make money for Sioux Falls.

"I think there are people who have enough concern. We're all trying to figure out a way to get it stopped," Wick said.

According to Wick, getting more specific with fines on a state level might not be a concrete answer, but he thinks it could help.  He would like to see a state texting while driving fine start at $200 and increase with every following offense.

"If anybody gets hurt, then maybe it ought to be a lot more. Those are things we need to talk about because they haven't been considered by the legislature," Wick said.

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