You’ve been breaking the law for almost two years.
Maybe you didn’t even know it. Maybe you did. But you have been. What law you ask? Texting while driving.
A South Dakota state law went into effect on July 1, 2020, making it a Class 2 misdemeanor to use a cell phone while operating a vehicle. The only exceptions are for emergency purposes and using a GPS app—that means no taking photos, using the internet, posting to social media, reading emails or using phone applications while driving.
Texting while driving is a primary offense, meaning drivers can be pulled over for only using a cell phone. Not only do you have to weather the disapproving looks of cars passing by, but the offense carries a $178.50 fine. There’s also a high probability that your car insurance will increase with a ticket.
The good news? There are lots of ways to avoid this hefty fine.
Put the phone away
If your phone is a distraction, place it in the back seat, the trunk, the glove box or any other place where it’s out of reach. If you can’t reach the phone, you won’t break the law.
Silence the distraction
Constant cellphone rings and notifications are likely to grab your attention when you’re driving. Try silencing your phone or turning it off while you drive.
Airplane mode and do not disturb
Airplane mode and do not disturb will be your best friend. Most, if not all, devices have the option to place your phone into airplane mode. This function turns off data and silences any notifications you may get. But not to worry, they’ll all show up when your data is turned back on.
Pro Tip: Some devices like iPhone have a do not disturb while driving option that will automatically turn on when you enter your vehicle.
Pull over and park
Sometimes we’re waiting for an important text or call—maybe from the doctor, or your boss, maybe a call about your children or something else time sensitive. If you need to answer, just pull over. Spending the five minutes parked to respond to a text is better than getting hurt or even killed in a crash.
Be a role model and speak up
Chances are if you make it a priority not to text and drive, your family and friends will too. When you see someone driving distracted, speak up. It can be a kind “can I help answer the text for you?” or a short “can it wait?”
Texting while driving is not worth the ticket or the fine. Try these techniques to see which one works best for you and share them with a friend. Together we can make the roads safer and avoid distractions while driving.
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