Tulsa residents might agree that texting and driving is one of the major reasons for distraction behind the wheel, which can ultimately lead to an accident. In fact, there are many findings that have highlighted the risks of distracted driving. For example, according to statistics released by the United States Department of Transportation, 3,154 people were killed in 2013 as a result of car accidents and other motor vehicle accidents.
Legislators in Oklahoma understand the seriousness of the problem and recently introduced a bill to ban texting and driving on Oklahoma roads. If the bill passes, Oklahoma will be among 44 other states that have banned texting for all drivers. The current law only prohibits drivers with a learner’s permit and drivers with a provisional license from texting and driving.
The bill would not only ban texting and driving on state roads, but also take measures to make it a primary offense. The bill, which is authored by Tulsa Representative Terry O’Donnell, is now headed to the House for further action. The bill recommends a fine of $100 for a violation, except in certain emergencies. The bill also states that the new law would not apply to devices that can be operated by voice commands.
Interestingly, the Senate strengthened the bill and made texting and driving a primary offense, which means that if a law enforcement officer sees a driver texting while driving that will be enough of a reason to pull that car over. An earlier version of the bill made texting and driving a secondary offense, which meant that law enforcement officers needed another reason to stop a driver.
With the passage of the bill, residents of Tulsa and the rest of Oklahoma can hope for better safety standards on state roads. However, although the risks of accidents may be reduced by new laws, it is unlikely that accidents caused by distracted drivers will be totally eliminated by such measures.
Source: SWTimes.com, “Oklahoma Senate OKs Texting Ban, Acts to Make Violation a Primary Offense,” Rick Green, April 9, 2015
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