SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Senate Bill 106 would make it illegal for a teenager with an instructors permit to use a phone while driving for anything other than GPS. It may now be tough for law enforcement to put the law on their side.
"I think anyone that works in highway safety understands that wireless devices, handheld devices are, you know, pose an additional risk on the roadway. There’s no doubt about it," Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said.
Seeing the problem is fairly easy, but Milstead says in a state where freedoms are enjoyed, finding a fair solution might not be.
While an all encompassing texting and driving ban has failed year after year, teens might be the first to see it outlawed. But an amendment to Senate Bill 106 makes it a secondary offense.
"For law enforcement to enforce that it would basically take the teen to be talking on the phone or texting as he's driving through the stop sign in front of the policeman. They couldn’t be stopped for talking on the phone or texting," Milstead said.
Milstead says if a teen was in a serious accident they could pull phone records to determine if cell phone usage was a distraction.
And while enforcement may be difficult, it will be a great teaching tool for parents to instill future habits on the newest drivers.
"Parents would be able to say, 'While you've got the restricted permit, or learners permit, it’s against the law to be on the phone or text or use your wireless device, period.' So parents will have the backing of the law in this situation," Milstead said.
The bill is scheduled to be on the senate floor Wednesday. If it passed there, it will head to the governor's desk for the final signature.
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