Councilor speaks out about texting/driving ban - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Councilor speaks out about texting/driving ban

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It could be a law to affect every single driver in Sioux Falls. A group of city council members are working to pass a city ordinance that would ban sending, composing or receiving a text message behind the wheel.

It was scheduled for a vote at Tuesday night's city council meeting but some members were unable to attend so it was deferred to September 4th.

Council Member Michelle Erpenbach is one of three councilors who sit on the Sioux Falls Public Safety Committee which brought this proposed ban forward, earlier this year.

"The real meat of the ban is simply banning any sort of electronic messaging - sending or reading - a text, that's the ban," Councilor Michelle Erpenbach said.

Critics would say that's easier said than done. The real question, if it passes, is: how will this be enforced?

"If a police sees you, they're going to stop you and ticket you," Erpenbach said.

How will police officers know whether or not a driver is actually breaking the law?

"If I'm texting to my kids, it looks different than dialing and putting it to my face. That action is not illegal under this proposed ban. The sending of that message, that's what's under the ban," Erpenbach said.

Sioux Falls Police say their biggest challenge will be proving someone is violating the new law, while those who wrote the ban disagree.

"I think part of it is we're reading too much into it. I think it's not difficult to tell when someone is texting and dialing a phone number. I think it's important to take this in a broader picture," Erpenbach said.

"You don't know if they are using their phone or texting because there are certain things that are done at the same time," Officer Sam Clemens said.

Members of the city council say proposing this ban is a first step in the right direction.

"This is one of those crazy things new technology has put in our faces. We can't control it so we're stepping in as government and we'd like to see the state be a leader in this, as well. Sioux Falls is starting that, making the baby step, banning texting. Let's try it and see what happens," Erpenbach said.

The city council's scheduled vote will be held September 4th.

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