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New Phone Ban For Young Drivers

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A new law went into effect Monday that prohibits young drivers from using cell phones while behind the wheel. At age 14, South Dakotans can get an instruction permit. That’s the youngest anyone in the nation can drive with adult supervision.

Jim Jensen has been a driver’s education teacher for over four decades. So he knows just what new drivers need to actually pay attention to while on the road. And he said the one thing they shouldn’t be doing, is using their cell phones.

“Your age group is the number one in crashes, speeding tickets, fatalities,” said Jim Jensen, a driving instructor.

Jensen is a driving instructor in Sioux Falls. Having taught young drivers for years, he knows just how important it is to make sure they have two hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.

“I think anytime you can eliminate any kind of distraction, it's a real positive thing,” said Jensen.

 This new law prevents young drivers who have either an instruction or restricted permit from using any type of electronic device while behind the wheel. Jensen said it’s a step in the right direction. He said new drivers have enough to worry about when it comes to operating a motorized vehicle. And their eyes should always be looking out that windshield, not down at text message.

“That eye fixation, elongated eye fixation can be an impairment and a distraction,” Jensen said.

Fourteen-year-old Cassidy Erickson was driving around Sioux Falls with Jensen for her first lesson in driving training. Erickson said she hopes new drivers, like her, take this law seriously because driving is something that needs full attention.
“It's really hard, you have to do a lot of multi-tasking, and it would be a lot harder if the phone was there,” said Erickson.

As for Jensen, he said he just hopes this law creates good habits. Because when drivers turns 16, and receive an unrestricted permit, the ban is lifted.
“My only hope is that they carry on to future years,” said Jensen.

If a driver is using a cell phone or any electronic device while driving is considered a secondary offense. That means an officer can pull the young driver over for reckless driving for example, and then cite them for using a device.
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