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SD House Speaker proposes statewide texting ban

Rep. Brian Gosch, R-Rapid City, addresses a crackerbarrel crowd in Rapid City. (Denise Ross/Daily Republic)

PIERRE (AP) — In a surprise move, South Dakota House Speaker Brian Gosch has proposed a statewide ban on texting while driving.

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Gosh initially introduced a bill that sought to prevent local governments from imposing their own texting bans, which upset many city officials from across the state.

But in the bill's first hearing, the Rapid City Republican on Wednesday completely changed his bill to ban texting while driving statewide.

Gosch says studies have shown that texting bans in other states have not reduced accidents. But he says a ban carrying a small penalty, coupled with extensive state advertising about the dangers of distracted driving, could make South Dakota's highways safer.

The House Judiciary Committee delayed a vote on the bill until Monday to give people a chance to study the new version.