SD Committee passes texting while driving ban, Friday - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

SD Committee passes texting while driving ban, Friday

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Friday morning, lawmakers with the Senate Transportation Committee looked at a bill that would ban texting while driving around South Dakota.

It's a measure that has been repeatedly rejected by the legislature. Friday morning, Senate Bill 142 passed through the committee 5-2 after nearly two hours of emotional testimony.

The committee met to hear from lobbyists and members of the public about why they should or shouldn't pass a bill banning texting statewide.

Nearly a dozen testified for the ban, nobody against.

What surprised many people we talked with was the variety of supporters represented: Avera Health, insurance companies and public safety officials.

Justin Iburg testified as a 22 year old Mitchell Man, someone who caused a fatal accident by taking his eyes off the road.

Two other supporters lost a son and husband and can't bare to see it happen to anyone else. No matter where supporters came from or who they represented, they were here for the same reason: to tell lawmakers this needs to become a state law.

Prime sponsor of the bill, Senator Mike Vehle said, like drinking and driving, this ban is about changing the culture.

"It's now part of our culture. We need to amend that culture. When you take your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road, with your mind preoccupied on something else, it's not safe," Sen. Mike Vehle said.

"I've been a lobbyist for a long time and don't often see emotion like that in Pierre and emotional testimony. It was really telling to the committee," lobbyist Bob Miller said.

For the first time, this measure comes less than a year after four large South Dakota cities enacted their own bans of texting while driving.

SB 142 will now move to the Senate floor.

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