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Huron Driving Law Receives Natl. Attention

December 5, 2012, 5:20 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Huron Driving Law Receives Natl. Attention
HURON, SD -

As multiple South Dakota cities consider a ban on texting while driving, Huron’s distracted driving law is receiving national attention.

In addition to ticketing any driver caught texting behind the wheel, Huron Police will be able to pull you over for eating pizza or putting on makeup as long as that distraction is affecting your driving. That part of the law is getting attention all over the internet and even on national TV.

It'll be a month or so before the Huron distracted driving law takes effect. Even then, city leaders didn't think it would raise too much attention.

"National attention- no, I was not aware of that and didn't expect it," Mark Robish said.

Robish is on Huron's safety committee and helped draft the distracted driving law. As city leaders considered passing it, they received little feedback from the public.

But after it passed, the website Drudge Report posted a link to an article about the law on KELOLAND.com and media outlets around the country contacted the city. Robish even received a call from New York.

"We just want everybody to be careful and be safe in our city," Robish said.

The national attention focuses on a portion of the law that would allow officers to ticket drivers for eating behind the wheel. According to the law, you can get a ticket for any distraction if it causes you to swerve, run a stop sign or drive in some other unsafe manner.

Law enforcement cites local examples when arguing why that portion of the law is needed. A distracted driver eating pizza behind the wheel late this summer hit a kid riding a bike to school Officer Cory Borg said.

And that's just one example. Officers say plenty others have played out on Huron's streets.

That said, Robish argues the city isn't trying to ban every distraction. But if one causes you to put others in danger, you should be held accountable.

"It comes down to not trying to control everything, but trying to curb the bad habits," Robish said.

Even though eating behind the wheel has been the subject of national attention, Robish hopes that doesn't become the case locally. Aside from texting, he said the law was not supposed to target any one form of distraction.

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