Teens The Target of South Dakota Distracted Driving Law

Posted on March 7, 2013

Lawmakers in the state of South Dakota recently shot down a proposed ban on texting while driving.  This caused widespread outrage throughout the state, with one local newspaper going so far as to say that the matter might have to be introduced as a ballot measure if it’s ever going to receive passage.  However, lawmakers have given their approval to a different distracted driving law, although it only targets the state’s most inexperienced drivers.

Senate Bill 106 was approved by a 23-8 margin and will now head to the Governor’s desk.  If he affixes his signature to the measure, teens younger than 18 who have only a learner’s or restricted permit will be barred from using their cellular phones at the wheel.  For those who have earned their full license, only texting would be illegal.

Originally, the bill was set to make a violation of the law a primary offense, which would have allowed officers to pull the individual over the moment they spot a violation taking place.  But the House of Representatives took the teeth out of the bill, making it a secondary offense.  One proponent of the measure attempted to send the bill back to committee to get the law re-designated as a primary offense, but his efforts were to no avail.

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