Sioux Falls Police to have bigger focus on distracted driving on Saturday


For many of us, our cellphones are a part of us. But do you remember to set them aside when behind the wheel?

We’re in Distracted Driving Awareness Month. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem declared Saturday “Safe Driving Day.” On Friday the Sioux Falls Police Department sent out a tweet which said that Saturday morning they are going to “have 12 extra officers looking for impaired or distracted drivers.”

We’ve all seen distracted drivers- or maybe been them ourselves.

“Everybody sees this happening from time to time,” Sioux Falls Police Department Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said. “When officers are responding to crashes, sometimes people admit that they were on their phones doing something, most of the time they’re going to come up with some other type of excuse, and so we know that it’s out there, we know that it contributes to a lot of accidents and probably a lot more near-misses.”

Gary Maddy II of Sioux Falls says distracted driving is an issue. But he’s not sure how to reduce the problem.

“That’s a really hard question, a lot of people just don’t seem to care, and that’s the thing- as soon as we get people to care, which I don’t have an answer for, it’s going to fix the problem,” Maddy II said.

It has real-life consequences- just ask Kathleen Kennedy of Sioux Falls.

“I was rear-ended by a distracted driver in August, early August of this past year,” Kennedy said.

She’s okay. But she wants a bigger crack down on distracted driving.

“You might think it’s a simple, ‘I’m glancing at my shopping list,’ but you can potentially cause severe harm to somebody,” Kennedy said.

“Put the phones down- plain and simple,” Clemens said. “I mean if we’re talking about distracted driving, the phone is the biggest distraction that people have. The society we’re living in now, you get a text, your phone buzzes, it chimes, whatever the case is, people think that they have to see what that is, and the easiest thing they can do is put that down.”

Texting and driving is a secondary offense in South Dakota- you would have to get pulled over for something else first before running into trouble for texting and driving.

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