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Huron Considers Distracted Driving Law

November 19, 2012, 5:26 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Huron Considers Distracted Driving Law
HURON, SD -

As some KELOLAND cities look to ban texting while driving, Huron is taking a different approach as leaders consider a distracted driving law.

In the ordinance city council members saw for the first time Monday, electronic devices would be ban behind the wheel for anyone less than 18 years old, anyone with a learners permit or anyone driving a bus with kids.

But if you don't fall into one of those categories, you can still get a ticket for distracted driving.

"It's a problem. It is a problem not just citywide, statewide but nationwide," Mark Robish said.

Robish is a member of Huron’s Public Safety Committee. It drafted the ordinance that would ticket distracted drivers.

The committee’s recommendation doesn't just focus on texting but would ticket people for any distracting behavior behind the wheel as long as that behavior causes the driver to commit unsafe acts such as speeding, swerving or running a stop sign.

"We're going to the distracted driving because there're all kinds of distractions out there," Robish said.

In an explanation for the need of a distracted driving law, the chief of police sited a couple different local accidents. One accident involved texting and driving; another involved eating and driving.

The committee that hashed out details of the proposed ordinance expects a lot of discussion and feedback. Tommie Wipf of Huron says she's okay with it.

"A lot of the texting that's going on with the cell phones and people driving will cause accidents," Wipf said.

Those who worked to draft the law say its goal isn't to punish drivers but to simply correct dangerous habits.

Law enforcement, council members and a traffic engineer make up that committee.

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