Those who drive commercial vehicles will now have a stricter punishment if they use a hand-held phone while driving. Some people say this bill is a step in the right direction to help put an end to deadly distractions.
"It really comes in use when I'm running down the highway, I don't have to be distracted, I can call and I can answer the phone at any given time when someone calls me just by touching the side button," Truck Driver Hale Miles said.
Miles is from Illinois, where the state also recently made it illegal for all drivers to talk while holding a cell phone while driving. So, while passing through South Dakota he's already familiar with those requirements.
"To me, I think if you're going to drive, you drive. Your phone is not in your hand and you're not texting," Miles said.
Because he spends the majority of his time on the road, he's seen firsthand the dangers and distractions a cell phone can create while driving.
"I had a young individual in the left lane texting. He waited until he almost got to his off ramp and darted out in front of me and slammed on his breaks, he didn't even pay attention to his surroundings or what was in front of him or behind him." Miles said.
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed a bill that would make the use of hand-held mobile telephones while driving a commercial motor vehicle a serious traffic violation in the state.
"The Governor's Office of Highway Safety has, for a few years now, been attempting to reinforce the message that texting and driving is wrong and it is dangerous and it can cause permanent heartbreak to families, friends, relatives, if it causes a fatal crash and we know that texting and driving does cause those roadway deaths and injuries," Director of the South Dakota Highway Safety Patrol Lee Axdahl said.
According to a study, drivers are 23 times more likely to crash while texting.