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SD House bill banning electronic use while driving passes House, Senate

RAPID CITY, S.D. – House Bill 1169 bans devices like phones, pagers, computers, tablets– and also bans the use of social media while driving.

“It just reinforces the message that driving takes 100% of your attention,” said Captain James Johns with Rapid City Police Department. Anything that distracts from that is a danger to everyone else out on the roads.”

And while drivers can’t scroll Facebook, they can still use GPS, as long as the driver isn’t actually typing the address while driving.

It might be hard to tell if someone is texting vs. using their GPS, but Johns is confident that the body language of the driver will give it away.

Currently, phone use is a secondary offense, meaning a driver has to be in violation of another law for an officer to pull them over for phone use, like speeding while on the phone. This bill ups the offense to a primary offense, which allows officers to pull people over for just being on their phone.

That includes texting while stopped at an intersection. House Bill 1169 passed the South Dakota House and Senate and awaits Governor Kristi Noem’s signature to go into law.

If signed the bill would go into effect July 1, 2020.

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