New Law Will Penalize Drivers Distracted By Cell Phones

Wednesday, April 14th 2010, 6:08 pm
By: News 9


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Governor Brad Henry signed legislation Tuesday that will allow law enforcement to cite drivers who drive dangerously while using their cell phones.  The law prohibits law enforcement from initiating a traffic stop simply because the driver is using a cell phone.

The bill was introduced by State Representative Rex Duncan.

"My legislation is a nice compromise between penalizing drivers who use cell phones and ignoring a growing public safety concern," Duncan, R-Sand Springs said. "Operating a cell phone can distract the driver and cause an accident, but we shouldn't penalize drivers who are otherwise driving safely."

House Bill 2276 amends the law to require law officers to observe driving that "poses an articulable danger to other drivers."

"The focus is that the simple use of a cell phone in itself is not to be prohibited," Duncan said. "However, when it is coupled with weaving, running other cars off the road or tailgating, it will constitute distracted driving. I also don't refer to texting specifically in the bill so as to encompass all future cell phone uses. When texting is old technology, this law will still be relevant."

The new law will go into effect on November 1, 2010.