The hope for a rational ban on texting while driving in South Dakota is in the hands of the South Dakota Senate.

HB 1177, approved by the State House last week is a weak, and in my mind cynical approach to the known dangers of the practice. It slaps the face of local elected officials who have recognized the issue and adopted local ordinances against it.

To my friends in the South Dakota Senate I offer the following suggestions:

Remove the section of HB 1177 which nullifies local ordinances. When you complain about the lack of flexibility from Washington, DC on issues, why would you take away the ability of local elected officials to deal with a public safety issue the way they think best fits their needs?

Make the offense a primary rather than secondary offense. All the properly gathered data shows texting while driving is equally if not more dangerous than drinking and driving. DUI has been a primary offense in South Dakota for years.

Finally, the section dealing with prohibiting law enforcement officers from seizing the phone as evidence makes no sense. If an officer finds an open bottle in the car, I believe that bottle is held as evidence.. If you don't want your phone seized as evidence, don't text while driving.

Implementing the changes I have suggested, would make the bill fair, just, rational, and perfect.