Sioux Falls, SD
It's been exactly one week since the city of Sioux Falls enacted a texting while driving ban. And so far, the effectiveness and impact of the law are still in question.
The city has issued exactly zero texting tickets since Friday. But members of the city council, as well as law enforcement, still believe the ban is working.
The resolution to enact a texting while driving ban passed unanimously through the Sioux Falls City Council last month. It's being considered in other communities around South Dakota as well. But through the first week, city leaders say there are some signs it's working, despite no tickets being issued.
And the ban in Sioux Falls isn't exactly creeping up on people.
"I'm not surprised that there were no tickets written this first week," Sioux Falls city council member Sue Aguilar said. "I didn't expect there would be."
Aguilar co-sponsored the original resolution for the ban last month. And she believes most drivers around town are well aware the ban's in place.
"We went into this knowing the majority of the citizens, once it did become law, they're not going to purposely break the law," Aguilar said.
But even if drivers are being more cautious, it's still difficult for police to pinpoint texters on the road.
"We knew with the law there were going to be some challenges with trying to enforce it and any time the officer writes any sort of ticket, they're going to have to go into court and testify that they know that crime actually happened," Sam Clemens of the Sioux Falls Police Department said.
Although the burden of proof is difficult for law enforcement, the overall goal of the law is to cut down on any kind of distracted driving.
"There's certainly some challenges there," Clemens said. "It doesn't diminish the fact of the law. I think most people are going to abide by that and put their phones down."
"I don't believe that the success of this ordinance will be based on the number of tickets," Aguilar said.
And rather than fines, success will come in the form of safer streets.