OUR VIEW: Make speeding a points related offenseAt present, traffic offenders accumulate points for various offenses, such as running a stop sign. Once those points reach a certain plateau, drivers can face a suspended license. Just one problem: Speeding isn’t one of the violations that accumulates points.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Dangerous driving seems to be on the minds of many as the state Legislature prepares to convene for the 2013 session.
In recent weeks, many have been discussing the practice of texting while driving. We know that several cities have banned that practice, and Mitchell was at least considering it. For now, plans for a ban in Mitchell have been tabled while members of the City Council await news from the Legislature, where the issue is likely to be debated.
Now we hear that a Sioux Falls lawmaker, Rep. Steve Hickey, will likely introduce legislation to count points against drivers’ records when they are caught speeding in South Dakota. A similar proposal came up last year in the Legislature but didn’t make it out of the House of Representatives.
At present, traffic offenders accumulate points for various offenses, such as running a stop sign. Once those points reach a certain plateau, drivers can face a suspended license.
Just one problem: Speeding isn’t one of the violations that accumulates points. In fact, among 42 states with point systems for drivers, South Dakota is the only one in which speeding is not a points-related offense.
Think of the lunacy behind South Dakota’s current system: A driver who gets cited for failure to yield or improper passing is at risk of accumulating points and inching closer to license suspension, while a driver who routinely gets caught at speeds of 80, 90 or maybe even 100 mph does not face the same scrutiny.
We suppose it’s true that speeding drivers can be charged with reckless driving, and therefore accumulate those dreaded points. But the truth is they also might not be so charged, and there are many examples — some famous — to prove it.
So those who can afford the fines can keep speeding all they want, all the while endangering the lives of others on South Dakota’s highways.
We wish Hickey luck with his legislation, and hope he follows through on his plans. We are sure his bill won’t be popular with all of his colleagues, many of whom refuse to truly address some of the safety issues that plague our state’s highways.