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Panel Rejects Texting While Driving Ban



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A South Dakota legislative committee has rejected a proposed ban on texting while driving in the state.

Rep. Jim Bolin (R-Canton) was the prime sponsor of the bill. He told the House State Affairs committee the need for public safety trumps the right to individual freedom when it comes to distracted driving.

Several individuals joined Bolin in voicing their support of HB 1129. No opponents offered testimony agasint the bill.

Legislators who voted against the bill argued the restrictions were too narrow. Rep. Brian Gosch (R-Rapid City) said a recent study completed by an insurance agency found there's no evidence that bans on cell phone use in motor vehicles reduced the number of crashes. He suggested South Dakota more strongly enforce its current distracted driving laws.

Rep. Susy Blake (D-Sioux Falls) wanted to amend the proposed legislation to make it stronger, but Rep. Gene Abdallah (R-Sioux Falls) argued that to win his support, the bill would need to ban all activities that make it more diffiuclt for drivers to keep their eyes on the road--all cell phone use, applying make up, and eating behind the wheel.

The committee voted 10-3 to send HB 1129 to the 41st legislative day, which does not exist. The motion effectively kills the legislation.
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