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Most SD Drivers Still Ignoring Cell Phone Restrictions While Driving, Says Legislator Who Pushed Ban

While Governor Noem poses with her anti-China TikTok ban, another ban on really dangerous online activity isn’t working very well, says one Sioux Falls legislator.

Outgoing Representative Doug Barthel (R-10/Sioux Falls) says the ban on TikTokking, Tweeting, or texting while driving that he pushed through the Legislature in 2020 (see House Bill 1169) still hasn’t gotten through most drivers’ thick skulls:

“I just hope there’s some people who got the message and it’s having an impact on them, but to be honest, the majority of people probably ignore the law and still use their phone in the car how and when they want to,” said Barthel, R-Sioux Falls.

In South Dakota, 250 people were killed or injured in car accidents attributed to distracted driving in 2021, according to the state Department of Public Safety, though experts acknowledge the number is probably much higher due to difficulty in proving distracted driving after an accident has taken place.

Distracted driving was listed as a contributing cause of accidents in South Dakota in 2020 at a higher rate than speeding, disregarding a traffic signal, improper passing, over-correcting, and swerving to avoid an object, according to state crash data. Among teen drivers, 58% of those involved in an accident were distracted at the time of the crash, the state DPS said [Bart Pfankuch, “Dangerous, Potentially Deadly Distracted Driving Remains a Hard Habit to Break in South Dakota,” South Dakota News Watch, 2022.11.29].

The Chinese aren’t killing us with TikTok; we’re killing each other by prioritizing the latest viral video over keeping our eyes on the road. Give Representative Barthel a nice parting gift: put down your phone and drive.


  1. LCJ 2022-11-30 06:21

    Thank you for posting this CAH. Thank you very, very much.

  2. Nix 2022-11-30 09:55

    The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
    Good luck enforcing this law.
    I can’t believe with all of the technology available we can’t develop a way to
    Make cel phones inoperable if GPS or some other means show the phone in the drivers seat.
    If the car is moving, the phone doesn’t work.
    You could get incoming calls, but unless it’s an emergency, you have to have the vehicle stopped to operate your cel phone.
    Passengers could still call out.
    Just not the driver.
    This certainly can be done.

  3. O 2022-11-30 10:10


  4. 96Tears 2022-11-30 10:44

    Thank you Representative Doug Barthel for getting the ban passed. Public understanding and acceptance takes time. So does enforcement. South Dakotans are a “stiff-necked people.” We have a confusing and perverse idea of what is freedom vs. what is reckless behavior. It doesn’t help when the governor has no respect for the rule of law and offers a perverted idea of what is good for the constituency and labels it “freedom.” That doesn’t excuse illegal behavior by the rest of us, and texting while driving is a display of contempt for the safety of others.

  5. Nix 2022-11-30 10:47

    What 96Tears said.

  6. All Mammal 2022-11-30 13:36

    KN protects us from tiktok by signing an executive order. Oh what a saint. Not! She sure didn’t protect human life by mandating the simple use of proven obstacles to spreading the cause of 3,100+ covid deaths. Small government? Not according to the umpteen executive orders that scrawny talon has signed, ordering her subjects to succumb to the will of our tyrannical governor.

  7. P. Aitch 2022-11-30 13:55

    All Mammal sees the truth.
    In Short: It’s simple sociology. You don’t protect people by limiting their choices. You protect people by advising them to make smarter choices.

  8. e platypus onion 2022-11-30 14:15

    OT Fleetwood Mac’s singer/songwriter Christine McVie has left the building at age 79. RIP

  9. Mark Anderson 2022-11-30 15:11

    e platypus onion. Did you find out while driving ?

  10. buckobear 2022-11-30 16:48

    ah well. IOf the laws aren’t enforced, they’re merely suggestions.

  11. e platypus onion 2022-11-30 17:07

    No, Mr Anderson. It was on YouTube. I don’t use the phone when I drive. I pull off the road and I don’;t text at all.

  12. Richard Schriever 2022-11-30 22:30

    Mark – as professional CDL driver, here’s how I use google maps. BEFORE I start out to a destination – while I am at a stop – not moving – not so much as in gear – and often before starting the engine, I find my destination in Google maps, and hit “START”. I place the phone in a phone holder and follow the VOICE DIRECTIONS that come from the phone. I can glance at the screen if I like, but almost bever do and I NEVER TOUCH the phone while in motion. That includes to answer a call. I will check voice mail when I stop later. When driving – NOTHING is more important to giving your full attention to your vehicle and the road and traffic around you. But what does a professional know? And why would any Republican prefer a professional to an amateur?

  13. M 2022-12-01 06:03

    Driving is a privilege not a right. There are far too many people driving that shouldn’t be because of their recklessness. Cars, phones and guns when in the wrong hands, can kill others. Like everything else in this state, it’s an individual’s choice vs what is best for all.

    Do I feel safe on the roads in S.D…..HELL NO!

    Take 15 minutes of your time, sit in your car at an intersection with stop signs, and watch the use of cell phones for talking and texting. On an average about 1 in 4 will be using. Or just observe while driving as you stare at the oncoming traffic and it’s enough to make you want to quit driving altogether. Semi drivers with their phones attached to their steering wheel, people looking DOWN, and some even swerving off the road, like killer Jason. Offenders are mostly young but there are very few elderly because we’re too busy driving defensively with all the texters driving. I live in a small town, and I see it all day and everywhere.

    Cops want to bust people they can put in jail so they can build more of them. They overlook the laws when they don’t want to enforce them from laziness or because they don’t believe in the law.

  14. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-12-01 18:25

    Also OT, e platypus onion:

    I cried when I read Christine McVie died. As I did with with Robert Palmer and David Bowie; oddly enough, I did not know much about their personal lives, previous bands, spouses, lovers, or ages. I just loved their music, and decided I had no interest in snooping further.

    I thought Ms. McVie was maybe a few years older than me (66), maybe 69? I know I’m a stunod, but she always looked so good in her publicity photos. She was smart and talented enough she did not (apparently) have to work physically hard under harsh conditions and could afford health care.

    I was startled to read she was 79. She died too young, but accomplished so much.

  15. bearcreekbat 2022-12-02 01:07

    (Also OT, sorry Cory) Bonnie, Christine McVie was Christine Perfect before she joined Fleetwood Mac and hooked up with John McVie. She was a singer a nd pianist for the English blues band Chicken Shack – I was a huge fan of her and that band back in the day. Here’s sample from 1968 with 4 tunes:

    Chicken Shack feat. Christine Perfect (McVie) – BBC Session 1968

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