City Council to look at statewide texting/driving ban, Tuesday
Tuesday, the Sioux Falls City Council will discuss its legislative priorities for the coming year. Among them, distracted driving and a statewide ban of texting behind the wheel.
You may recall a ban like that has been rejected in the state legislature time and time again. Now there are even more ways to keep our eyes off the road.
Now the question is: could a statewide ban really be a reality in the near future?
It's not set in stone what exactly the council will take to the South Dakota State Legislature in January, but it seems like new technology, smart phones and social media is everywhere we look.
Some local and state lawmakers say that's creating more hazard on the roads.
"You can hardly stop at a stop light in Sioux Falls and not see at least a third or half of the people on their phone whether they're talking, punching numbers in, texting, programming GPS, it's huge. That little object while they're driving is a huge distraction whether it be the phone call, texting or next point they're going to," Councilor Dean Karsky said.
Sioux Falls passed a law banning distracted driving last year, handing our roughly 25 citations since. Within that time, apps such as Instagram, SnapChat, and Twitter, are the latest craze enhancing that distraction on the road.
In fact, one Huffington Post report shows the 'Driving Selfie' has its own hashtag and already millions of postings.
But social media expert and tech entrepreneur John Meyer says the problem is less about technology and more about behavior, though it might take some awhile to realize it.
"Someone will know someone who got into a fender bender, or got a ticket, the personal experiences then they'll start to realize the magnitude of the issue. If not, the government will step in, or hopefully technology will step in," Lemon.ly founder John Meyer said.
Yep, he said it. Technology could be the way to a safer future. Like an app already designed to disable phone use at certain speeds on the road. Until that becomes more mainstream, he suggests starting good behavior at home.
"Teaching those best practices, how often do you use it and that transitions to where you use it. Not in church, during physical conversations or in the car," Meyer said.
The future of a statewide distracted driving ban is unknown. While some Sioux Falls City Council members say a statewide ban would be more effective and consistent, others say let the individual cities decide.
Tuesday, the council will simply begin that discussion. If it moves forward, they'll decide if they will take it to state lawmakers at a later date.
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