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Statewide Texting While Driving Ban To Start Next Week

June 24, 2014, 6:05 PM by Kathleen Serie

Statewide Texting While Driving Ban To Start Next Week

In one week, texting while driving will be illegal in South Dakota. State officials hope the law will get people to put down the phone and keep both hands on the wheel.

Even though it's already illegal to text and drive in some South Dakota cities, the new ban spreads across the entire state as a secondary offense. This means an officer can't pull someone over for texting while driving, unless that person is violating another traffic law.

Lieutenant Jeff DeVaney with the South Dakota Highway Patrol believes the ban will be effective.

"A safe practice would be not to text while you're driving. Now that it becomes law, I think that we'll get even more compliance with that because most people want to obey the laws," DeVaney said.

This new law bans an act that combines three different driving hazards.

"It takes your eyes off the road, it takes your hands off the wheel, and it takes your mind off the act of driving,” Volunteers of America Highway Safety Program Coordinator Eric Najeres said.

Even though the ban doesn't go into effect until next week, many drivers say they already know the dangers of texting while driving.

Four years ago, Jeffrey Warren was in a crash because he was texting. Although no one was seriously injured, Warren had to learn this lesson the hard way.

"I know firsthand. Don't text and drive; you're gonna have a problem," Warren said.

A problem that will soon be illegal for all drivers in South Dakota.  Drivers will still be able to use hands-free technology to text.

A violation of the new law will carry a fine of $100.

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