Sioux Falls ban on texting while driving just passed the one year mark. The results aren't cause for celebration.
Twenty-five people were cited by police for texting while driving in the past year. That means police are catching an average of two drivers per month. You probably spot more people texting while driving home each day.
The low number of tickets shouldn't surprise anyone. Chief of Police Doug Barthel warned the council last year that the law would be extremely difficult to enforce.
There will be those who blame the low number of offenders on a lack of enforcement. Others will blame the law for not going far enough.
I suspect some council members will use the low number as justification for banning cell phone use entirely while driving. They'll say the existing law is just too difficult to enforce, therefore we should ban all phone use to make it easy to spot the offenders.
However, more legislation and further restrictions aren't the answer.
Driver attitudes need to change. We need to start showing concern for others and respect for the law. We need to quit putting our own convenience ahead of the safety of our neighbors.
Chief Barthel told the council last year that police already had the tools available to cite texting drivers. Instead, the city council leaped forward with a new law that many of us knew would not produce results. Why did they do it?
Simple. The law was never designed to improve public safety. This was a "feel good" law meant to make the council feel and appear as if they were actually doing something.
The proof is in the pudding. Twenty-five citations were issued and many of those were given after accidents had already happened. The bottom line is that city streets are no safer today than one year ago.
Drivers are still texting while behind the wheel. And only 25 citations per year isn't likely to deter them from this dangerous practice anytime soon.
Greg Belfrage is heard mornings 6am-9am on KELO Newstalk 1320 AM / 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.