PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - August 6, 2020 


Facebook removes a Trump post because of "deceptive" COVID19 claims; small businesses seek more pandemic relief.


2020Talks - August 6, 2020 


Iowa's governor has restored the right to vote for people with past felony convictions via executive order; and Tennessee has a primary election today.

SD Beefs Up Cell-Phone Driving Law; Research on Bans is Mixed

South Dakota's Department of Public Safety says 827 crashes across the state last year were attributed to distracted driving with an electronic device. (Adobe Stock)
South Dakota's Department of Public Safety says 827 crashes across the state last year were attributed to distracted driving with an electronic device. (Adobe Stock)
July 3, 2020

PIERRE, S.D. - As of this week, South Dakota is now enforcing its new distracted-driving law. Despite tougher measures across the U.S, researchers say there's still a lot they don't know about reducing cell-phone use behind the wheel.

South Dakota's new law focuses on texting while driving. It's now a primary traffic violation, which means you can be pulled over.

Ian Reagan, senior research scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, says most states have a distracted-driving law focusing on cell-phone use - but researchers haven't yet been able to clearly define how effective these laws are.

"It's really hard to really understand what the true nature of the problem is," says Reagan. "Because the phenomenon of distracted driving is - it's hard to study."

He says unlike DUI cases, law enforcement doesn't always have the legal tools to investigate cell-phone records, which some analysts say can be incomplete, even if they are obtained. So, Reagan believes crash data is under-reported.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported more than 2,800 distracted-driving fatalities in 2018. Only 385 were linked to cell-phone use.

In contrast to the unreliable crash data, Reagan says some research indicates these laws have been effective in changing drivers' behavior. He says overall data might become more conclusive as states adopt clear and consistent language in these laws.

"Rather than trying to ban specific behaviors, like saying you can't text with a phone," says Reagan, "we're starting to see laws that flat-out say you can't hold the phone."

Under South Dakota's new law, drivers who talk on the phone can either hold the device up to their ear, or use a hands-free mode.

Montana is the only U.S. state with no distracted-driving law on the books that deals with cell-phones. Missouri has a texting ban for drivers under 21, but no other phone-use restrictions.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - SD