New no texting law begins July 1

PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – Starting July 1, drivers in South Dakota will no longer be able to use mobile electronic devices, including cell phones, for texting or other purposes while they drive.

House Bill 1169, which was passed during the 2020 legislative session, prohibits drivers from using a phone for social media uses. The new law allows drivers to hold the phone to their ear to talk, but any data entry other than putting the contact number into the device must be done under a hands-free mode.

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

Exceptions to the law are:

    • 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.

The Highway Patrol is part of the Department of Public Safety.