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WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 04, 2012, 09:49 PM

Wahpeton no longer allows minors to use their phones while driving

Wahpeton, ND (WDAY TV) -- The city of Wahpeton is taking a state texting while driving ban, and adding some teeth to the ordinance. The part that's turning heads, not allowing minors to use their phone at all while driving.

Wahpeton, ND (WDAY TV) -- The city of Wahpeton is taking a state texting while driving ban, and adding some teeth to the ordinance. The part that's turning heads, not allowing minors to use their phone at all while driving.

I remember talking to a Fargo police officer after the city adopted its texting while driving ordinance, that officer's one suggestion, have the law take the phone out of the car, ban it while driving.

Officers to this day say it's difficult to catch and prosecute someone for texting and driving, but just catching them using it, that's easy, and that's part of Wahpeton's new law.

Mir Engstrom/Wahpeton Senior: "I think they took it too far by not being able to talk on the phone I think texting is a little more dangerous."

That's the reaction we got from all students. A group that's now educated on the dangers of texting and driving, but not sold on not being able to talk while driving.

Douglas Kremer/Wahpeton Junior: "You're more keeping your eyes on the road the only bad part is when you look down to put in the number"

Briana Hanson/Wahpeton Junior: "I think they went too far because talking you're not really not paying attention to the road you still have you're eyes on the road not like texting when you have to look away."

The one exception would be if a teen has an emergency.

25 year law enforcement veteran and current Wahpeton council member Meryl Hansy says this stiff law is to get youngsters in the habit of not touching their phone while in the car.

Meryl Hansey/Wahpeton Council Member: "you can develop habits years ago I never wore a seatbelt but I decided i'm going to wear my seatbelt so now on when I get in it's just automatic."

Wahpeton's texting while driving ban surpasses just the automobile --

because of past problems you can't text if you're on a bike or scooter even a riding lawn mower, horse or any other mode of transportation. It's a 100-dollar fine for adults 20 for juveniles.

Hansey: "If you want to drive looking this way have at it, but don't kill me who's riding with you or that person who's driving the other direction."

Hansey says the law takes effect next week, before then the police chief is going to the school and explaining to that age group why this ban is necessary.

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