Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Contact: Nathan Naylor, 202-366-9550, Public.Affairs@dot.gov
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today applauded South Dakota for becoming the 43rd state to prohibit texting behind the wheel for drivers of all ages.
"We commend Governor Daugaard and the South Dakota legislature for taking an important step to combat distracted driving," said Secretary Foxx. "Drivers should keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while driving a vehicle, not on writing, reading or sending a text message."
South Dakota's new law takes effect on July 1. Texting while driving will become a secondary offense and violators will be fined $100. A secondary law means an officer can only issue a ticket if a driver has been pulled over for another violation – like speeding.
"Text messaging while driving is risky behavior that often leads to life-altering consequences," said David Friedman, Acting Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "It's important that drivers of all ages drive distraction free."
South Dakota and 42 other states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands ban text messaging for drivers of all ages. Twelve states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands prohibit drivers of all ages from using hand-held cell phones while driving.
On April 3, to kick-off National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Secretary Foxx announced the Department of Transportation's first-ever national advertising campaign and law enforcement crackdown to combat distracted driving. As part of the effort, television, radio and digital advertisements using the phrase U Drive. U Text. U Pay. will run from April 7-15, which coincides with a nationwide law enforcement crackdown in states with distracted driving bans. The new ads remind the public of the deadly consequences associated with distracted driving, as well as the penalties for getting caught violating the state distracted driving laws. The campaign will run in English and Spanish and is available for viewing on the Department's Distraction.gov website.
In 2009, the Department launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend of dangerous distracted driving behavior in America. To help further raise awareness, the Department also launched Distraction.gov, a dedicated website that provides the public with a comprehensive source of information on distracted driving.