It looks like the citizens of South Dakota will see a bill in the 2012 Legislature banning texting while driving and/or banning cellphone use while driving. I have to admit that when texting first became available, I texted while driving. I do not text while driving anymore and haven't for quite a long time. I have scared myself silly too many times to continue to do it.
I do not support the whole cellphone use ban, however. I know that probably sounds like a wishy washy stance that doesn't make sense, but at least when a person is talking on their phone, their eyes are not down looking at their phone. I have hands link free system tied to bluetooth in my van that makes it pretty darn easy to answer the cellphone if it rings. The button to answer it is right on the steering wheel. My eyes stay on the road and my hands are on the steering wheel.
The article in the ARGUS LEADER was interesting and in-depth in its coverage of the possibility of a cellphone ban in the Legislature this year. Both Sheriff Milstead and Police Chief Barthel make a lot sense regarding this issue. I would think law enforcement professionals should weigh in heavily on the issue when it comes before the legislature and they should be listened to as the experts. The careless driving statute covers it and enforcing such a law is nigh onto impossible. However, clearer heads have not been the norm with legislators in Pierre.
If the legislators in Pierre want to ban cellphone use, then they should also include banning such activities such as turning your head to talk to your child or other person in the car, putting in a CD, changing the radio station, eating food in the car, putting on your lipstick, blowing your nose, sneezing where you momentarily shut your eyes, drinking coffee or pop, or looking at the person in the car next to you picking his nose. Really, how ridiculous a list do you want to make it?
From a state which has always been about personal freedoms, this is a curious stance. But then why should it surprise anyone considering what the legislature did about the abortion issue last year which will end up costing the taxpayers millions of dollars.
It will be interesting to see what develops regarding this topic in the 2012 Legislature. I say no to legislation on this issue. I agree with the Sheriff and the Police Chief. Why create a law you can't enforce when there is already a law on the books to cover it?