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.