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February 15, 2013 05:57 PM

Is Public Opinion Changing On Statewide Texting Ban?

A proposed statewide texting ban is moving forward in Pierre.

On Friday a South Dakota Senate panel approved a bill to ban texting while driving. This proposal has been repeatedly rejected by the state Legislature. But drivers we talked with say it's time.

The measure that now goes to the full Senate would prohibit writing, sending or even just reading a text message while driving, that way people can keep both hands on the wheel.  

We asked drivers what they thought of a statewide ban.

"I would support it. Why; because a lot of people are getting hurt. People are wrecking. It's out of control," April Walters said.

"I used to live in California and it was statewide ban there. I think safety is important when you're driving, so I wouldn't be opposed to the idea," Kim Johnson said.

"I think it's a good idea, it's probably the cause of a lot of accidents throughout the area and I think it's only going to get worse out there," Andrew Quintana said.

"Personally I think texting is dangerous while driving and it's just one more thing that's distracting you," Rick Woodford said.

Supporters hope the Legislature will look more favorably on the idea this year because some South Dakota cities, like Sioux Falls, have already imposed their own bans.  But people we talked with say they still see drivers doing it because it's tough to enforce.

"It's just hard to tell if someone is truly texting and driving. There are so many things that are distractions in a vehicle," Quintana said.

"It wouldn't hurt my feelings if it was banned, but I don't know how they are going to catch people doing it, unless there's an accident," Woodford said.

Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia have already banned texting while driving. If the bill becomes law in South Dakota, it would continue to allow drivers to make cell phone calls and use hands-free electronic devices.

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