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Mitchell Bans Texting & Driving



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Mitchell is now the 5th city in South Dakota to enact a texting and driving ban. It’s been in the making for quite some time, but Friday marks the first day it will be enforced.

“Mitchell started looking at the texting ban a little before state legislation went into session and they decided to hold off because it was going to come up in state legislature," says Mitchell Assistant Police Chief, Leon Baier.

When the statewide law was struck down, Mitchell decided to move forward with the ban.

"The city ordinance states that you cannot use it while the vehicle is in operation to read a text based message--read or to send a text based message," says Baier.

You can’t use your cell phone at a stop light; but you can if you pull over into a parking spot and legally put your car in park, you can send a text message.

"It's no different than any other traffic violation. The texting ban is a Class 2 misdemeanor. It has to be witnessed and viewed by the police officer in order to write a citation on it," says Baier.

That makes the consequences very similar to several other traffic violations like running a stop sign or even speeding, with a fine starting out at about $150.  

But a simple fine may be the least of your worries if you decide to break this new law.

"If there is a serious accident where there is a death or a serious injury, that could become part of evidence and a cell phone that was used could be taken in as evidence," says Baier.

So that text message you were about to type or read can wait.

Law enforcement officials remind those who are tempted to text and drive that they’re always capable of going back and finding the date and time of all sent or received text messages in your phone. 
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