We spoke with Sioux Falls City Council members Michelle Erpenbach and Jim Entenman after the vote. Both of them said they felt this was the right time for Sioux Falls to pass this ordinance.
Many people are questioning how this ban will be enforced by law enforcement. However both Entenman and Erpenbach say they think this ordinance is completely enforceable. "If you are texting and driving and a police officer sees you, you are going to get stopped and if they find out you were texting they are going to walk through that with you just like if you were stopped for anything else," Erpenbach said. "I think the police are ready to deal with this. It's something we are going to want to talk about and something we will follow as we go forward in the future," Entenman said.
Both council members said by banning texting while driving it will make our roads safer in Sioux Falls. "I think you'll find it's going to be a reasonable thing to enforce it's going to work for Sioux Falls and just knowing it's illegal will keep a lot of people from doing it," Erpenbach said. "I think society's recognition of the responsibility is lagging behind the technology itself and I think councilor Erpenbach said it best that our technology continues to evolve faster and faster and we need to be able to react to it," Entenman said.
This is how the ordinance reads. "No person may operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while using a handheld electronic communication device to compose, read, or send an electronic message when the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic." The council amended the original ordinance adding the words hand-held to the ban and eliminated GPS navigation systems from the list of devices included.
The ordinance will officially be in place at the end of the month.