Phone Use While Driving a 1st Offence in South Dakota on July 1

June 30, 2020

Drivers in South Dakota who use their cellphones can be pulled over and ticketed purely for that offense starting July 1.

A new state law taking effect July 1 makes it a Class 2 misdemeanor to use a cellphone while driving except in an emergency or to use a GPS app or to read or enter a phone number. Drivers who talk on the phone will need to either use a hands-free mode or hold the phone up to their ear. The offense carries a $122.50 fine.

Texting and driving already was a secondary offense in South Dakota, meaning a driver had to be pulled over for another reason to be ticketed. But the Argus Leader reports the new law makes it a primary offense, meaning drivers can be pulled over for only using a cellphone.

The new law also expands banned cellphone uses to include taking photos, using the internet, posting to social media, reading emails and using phone apps.

According to the state Department of Public Safety, there were 827 crashes in South Dakota last year where distracted driving with cellphones and other electronic devices was a contributing factor.

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