Just a friendly reminder, by this time next week, it will be illegal in South Dakota to use a mobile electronic device to check your social media status or send a text.

The new law, that goes into effect on July 1, 2020, was passed during the 2020 South Dakota legislative session and will prohibit drivers from using a phone for social media purposes, according to Department of Public Safety spokesperson Tony Mangan.

The new law does not prohibit drivers from holding the phone to their ear to talk.  However, any 'data entry' other than typing in the contact number into the device must be done in a hands-free mode, according to Dakota News Now.

Violation of the law is a primary offense and a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Mangan says there are some exceptions to the new law that include:

  • Use of device by emergency responders and public utility workers in performance of their official duties
  • Use of the device to report emergencies to emergency response agencies
  • GPS or mapping programs can be used, but information cannot be entered into the device while driving
  • Drivers can select a contact out of the device list to then use in a hands-free mode or activate or disengage hands-free mode
  • To activate and deactivate hands-free mode
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