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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Party Leaders Discuss Texting While Driving Bans

Lawmakers in Pierre defeated a state-wide texting while driving ban this session, but passed a ban for novice drivers. Four South Dakota cities have enacted their own texting while driving laws in the past year. SDPB’s Cassie Bartlett spoke to party leaders about how dialogue is changing and what to possibly expect in coming years.

Legislators haven’t been able to agree upon the components of a state-wide texting while driving ban. House Majority Leader David Lust says one of the reasons why the teen texting while driving ban passed while the state-wide one failed was the approach and research provided.
 
“The difference to me was that was a comprehensive approach. The Teen Driving Task Force looked at a host of different factors, texting while driving was one of them. They came with four or five bills and I think that comprehensive approach is the right model,” Lust says.
 
Lust says as more cities start creating their own bans, it might encourage the state to put a complete one in place. Senate Minority Leader Jason Frerichs says unlike other people’s beliefs, he doesn’t believe this issue will be solved with technology.
 
“It comes back to a culture and from a culture standpoint we’re only telling those youngest of the drivers that you can’t handle any type of a device while you’re driving, you have to be strictly focused on driving. Well, it’s going to be many years before they have kids that they’re going to be telling of what procedure to follow and their kids watching them. Yes, it starts with the youth, but it has to be a culture we adopt,” Frerichs says.
 
Some opponents to a state-wide texting while driving ban say it’s difficult to enforce, but Frerichs says it’s likely to start out as only a secondary offense. For South Dakota Public Broadcasting, I’m Cassie Bartlett in Pierre.