Getting caught shoving a few French fries in your mouth while driving in a South Dakota town could cost motorists $15 starting in 2013.The city of Huron with a population of nearly 13,000 passed an ordinance Monday that not only bans texting while driving but also cites other distracted driving activities, like eating, as potential infractions.
As Mayor Dave McGirr put it, according to the Associated Press, the City Commission’s ban includes distracted driving activities like eating pizza and reading the newspaper.
According to an article in the Huron Plainsman before the ordinance was passed, the city’s public safety committee proposed that distracted driving be considered a secondary offence if the person was initially pulled over for other traffic infractions, such as speeding or running a red light. Texting while driving, though, the commissioners wanted to be considered a primary infraction that would allow police to pull them over without the another reason.
Here is part of the proposed definition for distracted driving:
“inattentive driving while operating a motor vehicle that results in the unsafe operation of the vehicle where such operation is caused by reading, writing, performing personal grooming, interacting with pets or unsecured cargo, using personal communications technologies or engaging in any other activity which causes distractions.”
Texting or distracted driving bans would will only apply if the vehicle is in motion, the Plainsman reported.
The ordinance goes into effect in 2013, starting with a grace period where police will issue motorists warnings as they become familiar with the new rules. Getting caught texting while driving will cost $100, while other distracted driving actions could cost $15.
Drivers in training are barred from taking on the phone while driving as long as they have learner’s permit status as well.
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