House Committee Passes Texting And Driving Ban

Feb 13, 2020

A house committee is advancing a bill that prohibits texting while driving.

It creates a class two misdemeanor for anyone accused of looking at their cell phone while operating a vehicle.

Republican State Representative Doug Barthel is the prime sponsor of the bill. He’s the former police chief for Sioux Falls. He says a bill like this is overdue.

“We all know that using your phone or an electronic device while driving is wrong, yet our law doesn’t reflect that,” Barthel says. “It’s been a secondary offense since the texting thing was put in place years ago. So many things have changed since then. We got social media, people are posting pictures. It’s just time.”

Barthel brought similar legislation last year, but it got rejected.

Under the bill, those who get caught texting while driving are guilty of a class two misdemeanor—up to a $500 fine.