The use of cell phones except for emergency purposes, using a GPS app, or reading/entering a phone number will now be a Class 2 misdemeanor that will carry a $122.50 fine.
Texting and driving was a secondary offense in South Dakota already. That meant a driver had to be stopped for another reason before being ticketed for the texting and driving offense. With the change on July 1st, texting and driving, taking photos, using the internet, posting to social media, reading emails, and using phone apps is now a primary offense and drivers can be stopped just for doing those actions.
Talking on the phone can still be done in either a hands-free mode or by holding the phone up to the ear.
Another driving law change that will go into effect on July 1st is disruption of a funeral procession with a vehicle that isn’t part of the procession. This would include joining the procession to get the right-of-way, passing the procession on any two-lane highway or roadway, passing the procession on the left on any highway with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction, or entering an intersection where a procession is proceeding through a red light unless the driver can do so without crossing the procession’s path. These actions will also be a Class 2 misdemeanor.
The move over law is also getting an update. If a driver fails to move over and causes a crash with an emergency vehicle, the offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor and the fine is now set at $270. Along with moving over for emergency vehicles that are displaying flashing amber lights, drivers are now required to move over for authorized vehicles that use a blue light while working on a highway. All vehicles must still stop for emergency vehicles flashing red lights.