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Texting, Cell Phones, and Driving in South Dakota

Jeff Cole
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan & Cole

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Two New Cell Phone Laws Have Been Passed in 2014

The 2014 state legislature passed two new laws about cell phones. The first makes texting while operating a motor vehicle illegal throughout the state of South Dakota.  This law makes texting a driving a “secondary offense”, which means that you have to be pulled over for some other violation first.  “Texting” includes writing, sending, and/or reading any text-based communication while driving. While several cities within the state previously had similar laws, House Bill 1177 makes texting and driving a ticketable offense throughout the state.

There are a few exceptions to this law, which allow drivers to use their hand-held communication devices under the following circumstances:

  1. While lawfully parked;
  2. To contact any emergency public safety services;
  3. To write, read, select, or enter a phone number or name into the device to make or receive a call; and
  4. When using voice-operated or hands-free technology.

In addition, Senate Bill 13 was passed, which makes the use of cell phones while driving a commercial vehicle a serious traffic violation. Both of these new laws are now in effect as of July 1, 2014.

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