OUR VIEW: Bill’s failure will protect speeding for the privilegedGot a big checking account? Go ahead, then. Speed all you want. That’s the way it is in South Dakota, and that’s no way to make our streets and highways safe.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Nice try, Steve Hickey. Nice try indeed. Unfortunately, nobody is listening.
Hickey, a Republican state representative from Sioux Falls, was the main sponsor of a bill that we feel would have saved lives on South Dakota highways. The proposal would have made it possible for the state to suspend a repeat speeder’s driver’s license, which isn’t currently possible in South Dakota. At present, drivers can speed all they want, provided they’re able to pay the fines. At its best, the current system is a class-based privilege; at its worst, it’s allowing some of the worst drivers more opportunities to kill or maim someone in a traffic mishap.
Tuesday, the state House Transportation Committee voted 9-4 against the bill.
We can only shake our heads and wonder what people are thinking.
Rep. Manny Steele, R-Sioux Falls, voted against the plan because “it’s really overkill and keeping track of a whole lot of records that will really be irrelevant.”
We don’t agree with that whatsoever.
In fact, we agree entirely with Hickey, who said he has pushed this proposal because “fines have not proven to be a deterrent in slowing down drivers who want to speed.”
Hickey said South Dakota has about 602,000 licensed drivers, and 38,000 speeding tickets were issued in 2009. But about 500 drivers accounted for more than 5,000 of those tickets.
One driver in South Dakota received 31 speeding tickets in a single year, he said.
Yet, under current law, drivers who speed do not accumulate points that could result in their licenses being revoked. They get points for mistakenly driving through a red light, but not for intentionally driving 100 mph down the highway.
Again, if a driver can afford speeding, it’s no problem.
Got a big checking account? Go ahead, then. Speed all you want.
That’s the way it is in South Dakota, and that’s no way to make our streets and highways safe.