AAA Oklahoma is hoping the sixth time is the charm to ban texting while driving in Oklahoma.
State Senator Ron Sharp (R-Shawnee) just filed Senate Bill 67. The proposal would make it illegal to use a cell phone or handheld electronic device to text, email or call while driving.
Oklahoma is one of only six states that has not banned texting behind the wheel altogether.
AAA Oklahoma said you are 23 times more likely to wreck if you do text and drive.
“I think they should ban it, I think it's a good idea,” said one Oklahoma driver. “It's been an issue for a while, I don't know why they would not pass it,” he added.
Another driver agreed, saying, “Because you could have an accident and kill a child, or kill yourself or kill, you know, anybody.”
AAA Oklahoma is pushing for the bill, saying its past five attempts to get a ban in place have failed.
“The risk is so high that this has to be the year that we pass a bill,” said AAA Oklahoma spokesperson Chuck Mai.
The Automobile Association and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol say distraction behind the wheel is the leading cause of crashes now, and texting while driving is the leading distraction.
AAA Oklahoma is now challenging the state legislature to pass the law and is asking all of its club members to contact state lawmakers about it.
“Texting behind the wheel, you take your hands off the wheel, you take your eyes off the road and your mind is not on driving,” said Mai. “It's a triple whammy,” Mai added.
Opponents of a texting ban have said it is unenforceable and violates personal liberties.
“The law tells us what to do all the time behind the wheel and your liberties to text and drive end when you veer across that center line and hit my car head-on,” Mai told News 9.
Senator Sharp's proposed bill would not apply to the use of Bluetooth technology, which allows you talk on the phone without using your hands while driving.
Senate Bill 67 would make it a misdemeanor to use a handheld device while behind the wheel. Violators would face up to a year in jail or up to a $1000 fine, or both.