National Efforts Push Lawmakers to Ban Texting While Driving
By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A national effort is pushing for lawmakers to change the rules and regulation on the nation's roads by banning one of the deadliest driving distractions, texting.
Jennifer Smith traveled to Washington, D.C. to share the story of how her mother, 61-year-old Linda Doyle, died at an Oklahoma City intersection
"He never saw all the other cars already stopped at the light. He never saw my mother's car until it was too late," Smith said. "Drove through the intersection, ran the red light and t-boned her car driving 45 to 50 miles per hour."
Smith's mother is the reason she took part in a two-day summit focused on drivers who text, talk and take their eyes off the road.
"Distracted drivers destroy lives. Think and drive or people die," said Greg Zaffke II, whose mother was killed by a distracted driver.
Some members of Congress are pushing legislation that would require states to ban texting or e-mailing while driving or face losing 25 percent of their annual federal highway funding.
Driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone is already banned in seven states. Texting while driving is banned in 18 states. Oklahoma does not fall into either category.
AAA officials said the company wants to tackle the texting while driving problem first. That's why the group is pushing for a nation-wide texting ban by the year 2013.
"That's the most dangerous thing you can do behind the wheel," said Chuck Mai, AAA spokesperson. "I think it'll happen sooner than that in Oklahoma. The legislature seems inclined, this session, to pass an anti-texting while driving law."
On Thursday in Washington, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will offer recommendations that could lead to new driving restrictions. He's expected to urge a combination of strong laws, tough enforcement and on-going public education.
Arkansas was the latest state to ban texting while driving.
In Oklahoma, the city of Duncan is thinking about banning all cell phone use in the car.
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