South Dakota lawmakers consider hands-free bill

Politics

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — South Dakota could go down the same road as Minnesota and require drivers to go hands-free. A bill in the legislature would ban electronic devices behind the wheel. Supporters say the ban would make South Dakota roads safer by reducing cases of distracted driving. But others feel it could have just the opposite effect.

Some South Dakota drivers are calling-out the legislature for considering requiring them to go hands-free.

“I personally don’t think we should ban talking on the phone while driving,” Austin Vander Weide said.

Austin Vander Weide of Watertown thinks such a ban could result in the temptation to text.

“If people aren’t able to call, then maybe they might try to sneak-in a text message here or there than talking on the phone. To me, that seems a lot more dangerous,” Vander Weide said.

Others think South Dakota is way behind the times when considering a cell phone ban since more and more vehicles are already equipped with hands-free technology.

“Now, cars can’t even be made without a backup camera, so that law might be useless within 15 years,” Dustin Wika of Sioux Falls said.

South Dakota already has a law banning texting while driving. An ordinance was already in the books in Sioux Falls before the statewide ban went into effect.

“We know that there’s a big problem with people that are distracted and there’s any number of different ways to be distracted and the phone is probably the big one,” Sam Clemens of the Sioux Falls Police Dept. said.

Police say a hands-free law might make it easier for officers to enforce since it would eliminate a lot of guesswork about what a driver is doing with their phone.

“If it were enacted into law, it would depend if there are any types of exceptions, that is something that would factor into it as well,” Clemens said.

Clemens says most drivers will adjust if the hands-free requirement becomes law, so that putting down their phones will eventually become second-nature.

Minnesota’s hands-free law went into effect last summer. Law enforcement gave drivers a grace period at the beginning before they started issuing tickets.

You can take a look at the South Dakota hands-free bill by clicking here

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