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Statewide Texting While Driving Ban Not Likely

December 5, 2012, 9:56 PM by Brady Mallory

Statewide Texting While Driving Ban Not Likely

Lawmakers have tried multiple times to ban texting while driving in South Dakota.  Even as more cities take a stand against it, one lawmaker does not expect a statewide ban to follow. 

"It's the most egregious of distracted driving problems we face in society today," Representative Jim Bolin, (R) Lincoln/Union Counties, said.

We have seen bans in Sioux Falls, Huron and discussion of a ban in Brookings.  Even if more cities add their names to list of places you cannot text and drive, Bolin said the movement does not necessarily send a message in favor of a statewide ban.

"It actually might hurt it a bit as some representatives from West River may say, 'Sioux Falls, Huron, perhaps Brookings will pass this ban.  If they want do it in those cities, let them,'" Bolin said.

Bolin sponsored the bill to ban texting while driving last year.  But the bill died quickly in House committee.  He said we could see more instances of this being a local control issue. 

"South Dakota has a very strong Libertarian streak.  People don't like government telling them what to do and in the minds of some people, this is just one more effort to tell them how to live their lives.  As a result, there's a lot of resistance," Bolin said.

A statewide texting while driving ban is likely to be part of the conversation this next legislative session, but Bolin said he is not optimistic the discussion will get very far.

"It's really kind of a perspective issue that divides people.  It's not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue.  It's not even a liberal or conservative issue," Bolin said.

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