SIOUX FALLS, SD -
With one more sunset left until texting and driving became illegal in Sioux Falls, Mayor Mike Huether said the ordinance will not be a cure-all.
"As most of you know, tomorrow is a big day for Sioux Falls," Mayor Mike Huether said.
City leaders said Sioux Falls is leading the way because the ordinance against texting and driving plants a seed.
"One thing it'll do is make all of us think long and hard before we indeed text and drive again. Not only in Sioux Falls, but across South Dakota and across this great country," Huether said.
As for police enforcement, it will be business as usual on the streets. Officers will be on the lookout for people swerving in out of lanes or any other signs of 'reckless' driving. You will not see bigger patrols looking for texters behind the wheel right away.
"If we start to see if people start thumbing their nose to this and aren't obeying it, we'll do saturation patrols, concentrated efforts and come up with other creative ways to enforce the law," Barthel said.
City leaders have not shied away from admitting that enforcing this new ordinance will not be easy. City Council member Sue Aguilar said you will see more information in the coming weeks. Flyers will be included in October's water bill, and city officials are working with Midcontinent to develop and air public service announcements. At this point, you will not see billboards that could not only remind Sioux Falls residents, but inform out of town drivers. Huether said signs and billboards everywhere could create too much clutter. Huether added the success of this ban will not be judged on how many people get tickets for texting while driving.
"I think the success will be immediately tomorrow, when the ban goes into effect, there is a strong, strong chance that people in this town are not going to do it," Huether said.
For now, it seems the biggest message from city leaders about the ordinance is for drivers to use common sense.
"Frankly, you can drink and drive and get away with it sometimes. If that's a risk you want to take, feel free. You are taking a risk. We said this wasn't based on how many tickets given out, but make no mistake, if we see you violating it, you will get a ticket," Barthel said.
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