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Statewide texting while driving ban effective July 1

PIERRE -- South Dakota's Office of Highway Safety reminds drivers that a statewide ban on texting while driving takes effect on July 1.

"Texting while driving, like other forms of distracted driving, has always been unsafe and a bad idea,'' said Lee Axdahl, director of the Office of Highway Safety. "People know that, and most people pay attention while driving. We believe this law will drive the point home and prompt more motorists to put their full attention to operating their vehicle.''

Axdahl also said parents are the best educators when they use good driving habits.

"That includes not doing something illegal and dangerous while driving a vehicle, no matter if you're on a city street or an interstate highway,'' he said.

The law directs the Department of Public Safety to run a statewide education campaign about the dangers of texting and driving. The department, which includes Axdahl's office, has an ongoing public awareness campaign that includes messages on texting and other forms of distracted driving. An expanded campaign will be launched in the coming days.

"We have previously focused our South Dakota message on the fact that texting is a dangerous thing to do behind the wheel,'' Axdahl said. "With this law, we can also tell people it is illegal.''

-- Source: S.D. Dept. of Public Safety