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Huron Distracted Driving Ban In Effect

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A handful of cities in South Dakota have enforced a ban on texting and driving and on Thursday, Huron's ban went into effect.

The ban includes more than just texting and driving, but anything that's distracting behind the wheel.

A distraction is anything that causes unsafe behavior behind the wheel, whether it's speeding, swirving or causing a car crash.

These distractions could include eating, putting on makeup or reaching into the backseat for something while driving.

People in Huron, such as Jeff Kleinsasser, said he hopes this ban will make roads safer.

"I don't know how much scarier you can get when someone's driving a vehicle and not even look at the road,” said Jeff Kleinsasser.

Kleinsasser, a farmer and rancher has lived in Huron for the past seven years and said texting behind the wheel is a problem statewide.

"I have seen it a lot. On the interstates and in this town and any town I've been at. I see it a lot," said Kleinsasser.

Kleinsasser said he supports the newly enforced  "distracted driving" ban, but worries about how police are going to enforce it.

Chief of Police Gary Will Jr., said having a broader ban will actually help police crack down on violators.

"If we're not exactly sure about the texting part, we'll be at least able to say they were distracted because whatever they were doing led them to speed, run a stop sign, swerve or some other type of unsafe behavior," said Kleinsasser.

Huron is the fourth city in South Dakota to ban texting while driving and each city shares a common goal of having a statewide ban this year.

While a statewide ban will be up to South Dakota lawmakers during the Legislative session, Police Chief Will said there are reasons for why they want to protect drivers on the road.

"We've had crashes, injuries and even a death from distracted driving," said Will.

Kleinsasser said there should be no exceptions for texting while driving a car.

"It's just so stupid. It is. Because if you hurt somebody or something happens, how do you sit and look at that family and say I'm sorry, I had to send that message," said Kleinsasser.

He said driving alone requires full attention.

"When you're driving, you're driving, that should be your first priority," said Kleinsasser.

If you're cited for distracted driving, you face a $15.00 fine plus court costs, which are $60.00, totaling $75.00.

Texting and driving will land you a $100.00 fine plus court costs, totaling $160.00

School bus drivers in Huron with passengers and beginner drivers with learners’ permits can't use any handheld device unless calling 911.
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