A bill that would penalize distracted drivers who text while operating their automobiles has advanced through the Oklahoma Senate. The texting ban bill was co-authored by State Senators Constance Johnson and Earl Garrison, and State House Representative Danny Morgan. It has been referred to the Oklahoma House Judiciary Committee, where it is now under consideration.
Senate Bill Would Ban Texting While Driving on Oklahoma Roads.
Update: The bill did not make it to the floor for a vote.
The bill prohibits any Oklahoma motorist from driving a motor vehicle and “writing, sending, or reading” a text message at the same time. The bill also prohibits a motorist from sending, receiving, or composing emails and instant messages. Whether the motorist is using a laptop, feature phone, smart phone, or other mobile device, he or she can no longer communicate through a textual message under the language of the Senate measure.
But the Senate bill does not prevent motorists from making phone calls while driving. And certain exceptions also apply: law enforcement officials and firefighters can text while driving. Drivers who are calling for an emergency responder or attempting to protect persons or property from harm can also text while driving. Taxi operators, delivery truck drivers and others that use dispatchers to carry out their work can also use devices to send text messages, as long as those devices are “permanently affixed” to the cab or truck. Finally, motorists can continue to use global positioning devices (GPS).
Drivers who violate the law would pay $175 for the first offense. A second offense draws a $500 fine. However, a violation of the texting ban is considered a “secondary offense.” Drivers who violate the text ban law would only be ticketed if they are pulled over for another moving violation. Drivers that are in car accidents while texting would face double the normal penalty under the law.
If you have been in a car accident with a distracted driver, you know the consequences of inattentive driving. Call us today at (405) 703-4567 to discuss your legal rights.
Motorcycle owners and riders are not always the only people injured in motorcycle accidents. Passengers are also at risk for injuries or deaths when motorcycle crashes occur. To ensure the safety of anyone who embarks on a motorcycle ride, many states like Oklahoma require specific safety considerations for motorcycle passengers. There are also additional safety measures and legal considerations that both motorcyclists and passengers should remember before mounting a motorcycle and riding off on a two-wheeled adventure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were over 34,000 motorcycle rider or passenger fatalities and around 1.2 million people treated for motorcycle-related injuries between 2001 and 2008. There were 5,290 people killed and 96,000 injured while riding motorcycles in 2008 alone. About 41 percent of motorcycle riders and 51 percent of motorcycle passengers killed in 2008 rode without helmets. In Oklahoma in 2008, there were 86 motorcycle fatalities, and of those killed, 74 percent were not wearing helmets.
Oklahoma Passenger Safety
While there are no restrictions on passenger age in Oklahoma, there is a partial helmet law that requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when riding on a motorcycle. Other equipment required by Oklahoma law when carrying passengers includes a passenger seat large enough so it does not cause the operator to lean forward and passenger footrests that are reachable. The Oklahoma Motorcycle Operator’s Manual also suggests that passengers have straps or solid handholds and should wear protective clothing when riding.
Additional Safety Measures
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation also offers additional safety measures to consider when riding motorcycles with passengers. Operators should consider the additional weight factor of a passenger and adjust the motorcycle’s tire pressure and suspension settings. When actively riding, remember that more time may be needed to accelerate and pass another vehicle, and that braking may be impacted because of more weight over the back tire. Most of all, passengers should be instructed on how to sit and act to be effective and safe riders.
Both motorcycle riders and passengers should know the applicable Oklahoma state motorcycle laws and how to most safely operate or ride on motorcycles on the open road. Even if operators and passengers are over 18, helmets should be used as an additional safety measure in case an accident occurs. Most importantly, if you are a passenger who was injured in a motorcycle accident that may have involved Oklahoma motorcycle law violations, be sure to contact a local Oklahoma personal injury attorney experienced in motorcycle cases to discuss your legal rights and options for compensation for your injuries. Call us today at (405) 703-4567.
Child Passenger Safety Week is September 19-25. Now is a good time to discuss important reminders about keeping kids safe in cars. Although many parents assume that their children’s safety seats are indeed safe, approximately 75 percent of those seats are incorrectly installed.
Car Seats, Booster Seats, Seat Belts
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that all children should ride in the backseat until they are at least 12 years old. This reduces the chance of injury by 40 percent.
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provide recommendations on the use of restraints for children of the following ages and sizes:
What You Can DoA few simple steps will help you protect your child’s safety:
The news has been filled with recalls of children’s equipment lately, including car seats. Add that to the dangers presented by improper installation and some parents’ failure to properly restrain their children, and the world can seem a dangerous place for children.
This is why Oklahoma law requires that children be restrained properly. Adults owe the children in their care the safest transportation available.
Seeking Legal Advice
Sometimes, no matter what we do to protect our children, accidents happen. If your child has been injured due to a faulty car seat, or because of another person’s negligence, call us today at (405) 301-8586 to discuss your legal options.