HURON, SD -
Law enforcement officers in cities with texting bans in place are eyeing a proposed statewide ban making its way through Pierre. A South Dakota Senate panel approved a proposal that would ban texting behind the wheel. Huron is just one of several South Dakota communities with a texting ban already in place.
If lawmakers in Pierre decide drivers statewide can't text behind the wheel, Huron Police Officer Brandon Neitzert could see it benefiting law enforcement and the public.
"As they travel from one city that has their own ban into the next city that doesn't have a ban, it could get confusing. So certainly if there's a statewide texting ban border to border it would be more consistent," Neitzert said.
It could help inform the public. Huron bans texting but there aren’t signs in town informing drivers of the law.
"The city isn't wanting to move forward with anything like that until we know what the state is going to do," Neitzert said.
After Huron passed a texting ban, police issued several warnings during a 30 day grace period. Since then, they haven't written a ticket.
Some drivers still text and drive but Neitzert is confident most people at least know about the Huron law. It received a lot of attention when it passed which helped spread the word.
Neitzert isn't sure if bans in other city which received less attention are well known by drivers. He could see a statewide law clearing up confusion.
"Well certainly we'll do our job until that point. But again, it would make things much easier if there was a uniform statute that covered everything, everybody," Neitzert said.
In addition to a texting ban, Huron's law allows officers to ticket drivers for other distractions if they cause unsafe driving. Officers have issued two tickets for that portion of the law when violations led to crashes.
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