- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Sioux Falls City Councilwoman Michelle Erpenbach wants to ban motorists from using hand-held electronic devices including cellphones, but her proposal might face a bumpy road.

Sioux Falls already bans texting while driving, but some say that doesn’t go far enough because law officers struggle to differentiate between texting and dialing a phone number, which is allowed. Erpenbach believes that talking on a hand-held phone while driving is just as dangerous as texting.

“It’s a hands on the wheel, eyes on the road attitude,” she told the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/1MvIPjg ).

Councilman Greg Jamison said he isn’t likely to support the proposal. He would like to see the city do more to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving, rather than add more rules for drivers.

“Educate before you confiscate,” he said.

Erpenbach said she expects resistance but doesn’t yet know the extent of opposition.

“I haven’t counted votes,” she said.

Her proposal was inspired by Safer Streets for Sioux Falls, a group of residents, businesses and organizations that helped convince the council in 2012 to adopt the ban on texting while driving. In May, the group said it was organizing a push for stricter distracted driving rules in Sioux Falls and seeking city policymakers to carry the legislation.

“This ordinance says you cannot drive in the city while using a hand-held device,” group founder Rich Lauer said. “That’s going to take care of all of it.”

The proposal would provide exemptions for law officers and drivers in emergency situations. It also would allow for the use of hands-free devices such as Bluetooth and dashboard GPS navigation systems.

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com


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