Is Rapid City ready for a ban on texting while driving? - KOTA Territory News

Is Rapid City ready for a ban on texting while driving?

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A ban on texting and driving is something Rapid City council members Charity Doyle and Chad Lewis would consider.

"I think it's something that probably should be looked at," said Lewis, Ward 3. 

And it seems Rapid City residents are open to the idea.

According to an unscientific poll on our web site: 84 percent of the 537 poll participants said they would support a ban.

But no one from the public is forcing the issue.  

"Nobody here has said you know charity we need to abolish texting while driving," said Doyle, Ward 1. 

According to Lewis, it could be the desire to preserve the continued freedoms Rapid City residents take pride in.

"Rapid city's unique," said Lewis. "We're a little more independent, a little more pioneer spirited out this way, we tend to believe people have a right to do generally what they want as long as they're not hurting other people." 

The other side of the coin: enforcement.

"It's difficult to know if someone's texting or they're dialing a number or if they're just looking at maybe the hamburger in their lap," said Cpt. Dan Rud of the Rapid City Police Department. "It's tough to know, so it would be difficult to enforce." 

So far, the laws (already on the books) allow police to hand out tickets to texters.

"We have in the past successfully cited and prosecuted people for careless driving for texting while driving," said Rud. 

But police say a statewide law is needed,  even then Rapid City may not be ready for a new law.

"We have a police force that is understaffed and overworked," said Lewis. "So I don't know how we're going to enforce it adequately.

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