Mitchell is the latest SD city to consider a texting ban - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Mitchell is the latest SD city to consider a texting ban

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Next Friday, texting and driving will become a thing of the past in Sioux Falls.  At least according to the ordinance set to go into effect.

Now Mitchell is the latest South dDkota city to consider a local ban on texting and driving.

It seems officials in many cities across the state have their eyes on Sioux Falls. When the texting and driving ban starts next week, city leaders statewide will be looking at us as a research project.

Sioux Falls has got people across the state talking about banning texting and driving.

Mitchell Mayor Ken Tracy said "it's time that we start the debate and discussion and if the city council agrees with my position that I would hope we would adopt an ordinance similar to what Sioux Falls has done."

Tracy said the Sioux Falls ordinance may or may not have the answers, but at least it's a start.

"I think merely by adopting a law or ordinance that most people will abide by that ordinance and so I think it will help just by doing that in itself," Tracy said.

Whether driving in the city or on the interstate Highway Patrol Sgt. Kevin Joffer says texting and driving is a matter of making the right choices behind the wheel.

"The message from a highway safety point is that driving is a full time task, whenever you're taken away from that and distracted by anything, whether it's texting, which is a dangerous thing to do," Joffer said.

Mayor Tracy said he had hoped texting and driving would have been handled at the state level.

"I have followed this with interest in the past couple years when the legislature was dealing with it and was disappointed that they failed to enact any kind of ban on texting," Tracy said.

But Tracy said he's not the only one.  He recently attended a meeting of mayors from across the state who agree, it needs to be discussed.

"I think the point brought up amongst the mayors that if the cities do go forward and adopt a ban on texting, maybe that would be the impetus that maybe the legislature will then follow suit and realize that this something the citizens of South Dakota want," Tracy said.

Other cities across the state are also considering banning texting while driving.

The city of Brookings is strictly looking into it, but no decision has been made.

Vermillion's mayor brought it up, but more research is needed to decide.

Huron and Vermillion are in the discussion stage.

Pierre mayor Laurie Gill says the city commission hasn't put the topic on the table for discussion, but it is paying attention to what other cities are doing.

Pierre is also waiting until the next legislative session to see what the state might do.

Both Aberdeen and Rapid City haven't discussed any enforcement of a texting ban.

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