PIERRE - A watered down version of a measure that was narrowly defeated last year in the South Dakota House, failed to even leave the Transportation Committee the second time around.

The bill would have added speeding violations to the existing point structure, so that habitual offenders would face losing their license. As it currently stands, South Dakota’s serial speeders are only confronted with fines.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Steve Hickey from Sioux Falls presented the committee with data that indicates that the most frequent offenders, making up less than .1%, or 500 of South Dakota’s 600,000 registered drivers, receive approximately 13% of all speeding tickets. This works out on average to about 10 speeding tickets per year for these speed demons.

Despite these statistics, the Transportation Committee was unmoved to send the bill to another floor vote, citing a lack of need, and even concern that repeat offenders who lose their licenses might not be able to get to work. Rep. Manny Steele of Sioux Falls called the proposed crackdown “overkill”.

It is a fact of basic physics that increased speed translates into increased force of impact if the object in motion hits something. Stated simply, driving faster makes the vehicle more deadly to everyone involved in the event of a collision. High speed also magnifies the chance of an accident, as simple errors can result in the driver quickly losing control of the vehicle.

The rules of the road exist to protect all of us, and clearly a greater deterrent needs to be put into place, as fines do not seem to be preventing repeat offenders from flooring it. A small minority of drivers should not be able to flout the law and take all of our lives in their irresponsible hands, simply because they have the extra cash to afford to do so.