Rapid City leaders balk at texting ban compromise - KOTA Territory News

Rapid City leaders balk at texting ban compromise


Now that the South Dakota Legislature has passed a state-wide law banning text while driving, Rapid City leaders are considering what to do  next.

The compromise passed by lawmakers is weaker than what Police Chief Steve Allender had hoped.

While he's pleased that South Dakota is moving forward with the legislation, he's not thrilled that lawmakers agreed to make a violation of the ban a secondary offense.  In his opinion, it jeopardizes public safety.

"The key function of government is to provide safety and I think they have done a poor job over the last several years concerning texting and driving, " Allender said.

Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker also wanted the ban to be primary offense but he said he will favor a secondary ban as well.

Kooiker and Allender believe it's time to re–evaluate whether to enact the city's own ban.

"I've long said we need a one size fits all solution for the entire state rather than everyone having their own ban. The Police Chief and I share the position that if state bans were extremely weak, then we would want to continue to have bans locally if that was our choice to do so," Kooiker said.

Whether the state–wide ban should be a primary or secondary offense was a huge part of the debate this year.

"It's unenforceable and I believe it's a misuse of the secondary offense statute," Allender said.

So far, eight local governments, including some of South Dakota's largest cities, have passed their own bans after the legislature in recent years failed to pass a statewide ban.

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Rapid City, SD 57701

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