OUR VIEW: Sioux Falls texting ban good start for SoDakThe Sioux Falls City Council got it right this week when its members voted unanimously to outlaw texting while driving in the state’s largest city.
The Sioux Falls City Council got it right this week when its members voted unanimously to outlaw texting while driving in the state’s largest city.
In a 7-0 vote, the council mandated that it is a crime to send and receive electronic messages while operating a vehicle within Sioux Falls city limits.
Someone finally is taking this matter seriously. It reminds us a bit of the transformation of drunken driving. Just a few decades ago, some drunken drivers who were stopped by police were simply told to go home, sans punishment. Whether true or not — and we suspect there is a kernel of truth to those stories — we all have heard such tales.
But in recent years, people realized how terrible drunken driving is, and how drivers who are even a little impaired can be deadly behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
The same goes for those who text while they drive. Although many of us tend to take a quick look at our handheld device while driving, we shouldn’t. Making it against the law will send the message that it’s taboo, and it just might save a life somewhere down the road.
We understand some of the problems with such a law. We know it may be hard to enforce, and we know that it will be difficult for a police officer to differentiate between someone texting and someone simply dialing their cell phone.
But we are interested in sending a message to the state’s drivers that texting while driving is more than just a bad habit. We also are interested in adding teeth to the potential punishment that drivers can face if they cause an accident while texting.
The state Legislature has been hesitant to make an outright ban against texting while driving. The City Council of Sioux Falls decided this week to not wait around for state lawmakers to figure this out.
Thirty-nine states have laws against texting and driving. Why must South Dakota be among the last to do the inevitable?
We commend the council members in Sioux Falls and hope their action is the beginning of the end for texting and driving within South Dakota’s borders.