OUR VIEW: Good to see city headed toward new texting while driving banIt’s just unfortunate that cities are having to make this rule on their own, while the state Legislature just can’t seem to get a handle on this growing problem.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
It may not be long before it is illegal to text and drive within the city limits of Mitchell.
Although the state Legislature once again refused to outlaw the practice — a move with which we feel the majority of South Dakotans would agree — certain cities have taken matters into their own hands. Sioux Falls, Huron and other communities in South Dakota already have banned texting while driving.
Now, the City Council here in Mitchell is drafting an ordinance, which will be presented at the next meeting, scheduled for April 1. Four of the eight members of the council said they will vote in favor of the ordinance.
Mayor Ken Tracy, who only votes in cases of a tie, said he, too, favors a ban on texting and driving.
So things look good for putting the ban in place. Very good.
It’s just unfortunate that cities are having to make this rule on their own, while the state Legislature just can’t seem to get a handle on this growing problem.
Many feel such a law will be unenforceable, since it will be hard to determine if a driver is actually texting.
Perhaps a driver who appears to be texting may actually be just dialing a phone number.
We have maintained that the actual law itself should sway drivers away from texting.
It also should add teeth to punishment if a texting driver causes an accident.
Too, we figure that when police see someone texting, they’ll know it, and they’ll know what to do.
In Sioux Falls, 11 texting-while-driving tickets have been issued since that city’s law went into effect Sept. 28.
At least two drivers were cited after they were involved in accidents.
To us, this is proof that the law can work, and also that the law can be enforced.
We hope this reinforces the City Council’s desire to push through a ban, and we also hope members of the state Legislature are paying attention.