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Watertown To Consider Texting Ban

October 2, 2012, 6:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Watertown To Consider Texting Ban

As Sioux Falls' texting while driving ban has been on the books for several days, other communities are considering similar bans.
One of those is Watertown. At a city council member's request, Watertown is in the process of drafting an ordinance that would ban texting behind the wheel. But the measure still has multiple steps to pass before becoming law.

If you ask people on the street in Watertown, it doesn't take long to find someone wanting to see texting behind the wheel stopped.

"I think it would be a good idea," Denise Froke said. "It's just another distraction people have to put up with and I don't think we need that right now."

"I definitely would like to see the ban. I think texting and driving is really dangerous and it's just common sense not to do it," Jennifer West said.

The request to draft an ordinance banning the act came during Monday’s city council meeting.  Once it's written, it would have to pass the city's safety committee and then get approval from the city council.

Some people in town are opposed to a ban as well. Some argue there are too many distractions to target one. The mayor isn't sure how everything will play out but he does think that crowd might be in the minority.

"I have a real personal concern about people texting and driving and we're a fairly conservative community and I think that the community would probably support that," Mayor Gary Williams said.

Still, the city may wait to see if the state bans texting behind the wheel during the next legislative session. Or council members might work to pass a city law and adapt it to match the state's law if that happens.

Either way, Watertown would have at least some support moving forward.

"Yes, I'd like it because people don't pay attention," Kathy Tesch said.

Watertown's mayor says the city is looking at Sioux Falls' ban as it drafts its own ordinance.

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