Brookings Officials Talk Texting Ban
by Ashley Kringen, Reporter
November 20, 2012 10:08 PM
There are a handful of states that don't have a uniform statewide ban for texting and driving and South Dakota is one of them.
Less than two months ago, Sioux Falls enforced a citywide ban against texting and driving and so far, police has written not a single ticket.
Despite the lack of citations in Sioux Falls, Brookings is now proposing the exact same ban.
On Tuesday, the Brookings City Council made the decision to move forward with drafting a citywide ordinance that, if passed, would ban texting and driving.
One of the main supporters, the Brookings Chief of Police, Jeff Miller, was there to voice his opinion.
"I support such an ordinance or such a ban," said Miller.
Chief Miller has been in contact with Sioux Falls's Chief of Police following the enforcement of a texting and driving ban.
Although Sioux Falls police have not issued any citations since the ban went into effect on September 28th, Chief Miller does not believe the purpose of the ordinance is to write tickets.
"The intent is to raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving," said Miller.
Tim Reed, the Mayor of Brookings, said being the second city to take steps forward to a ban is good, but he's hoping a more uniform ban will be in the near future.
"We have to take into consideration that there's a good chance the state will take a look at a texting ban also," said Reed.
Councilwoman Jael Thorpe agrees and said she supports the message to promote safety, but doesn't think the decision should be put in the hands of Brookings officials.
"That is the responsibility of the state to create a statewide ban," said Thorpe.
She said the council should wait until the Legislative session happens before making any rash decisions.
For Chief Miller, he said action should happen now.
"I would rather have something in place, rather than wait for another tragedy to happen in Brookings," said Miller.
Miller said he hopes with a ban in place, people will abide by city rules.
"You have people that know the law exists and they're going to obey it, simply because it exists," said Miller.
The council members did not officially vote on anything on Tuesday, but the majority agreed to draw up a city ordinance that will be open for public input at their next meeting to determine if this proposed ban passes.
The next Brookings city council meeting is on December 4th.