Oklahoma Lawmaker Proposes Texting While Driving Ban

Wednesday, January 19th 2011, 4:37 pm
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Texting while driving would be illegal in Oklahoma under a bill being proposed in the House.

State Rep. Danny Morgan unveiled the bill on Wednesday, flanked by members of law enforcement, health officials and insurance and wireless telephone company executives.

Also in attendance to support this measure was a victim of an accident caused by texting and the mother of a girl who died due to the use of a cell phone.

 Robert Craig was the victim of a texting driver who hit him while he was riding his motorcycle in south Oklahoma City. If not for a medical professional that stopped to help him, he would not have survived the crash. After seven surgeries and months of physical therapy, he can walk, but only for 400 feet at a time.

"I just want them to try and put a stop to it before someone else dies," Craig said. "There are more deaths from cell phones than from drunk driving."

Gina Harris's 19-year-old daughter, Brittanie Montgomery, died in a traffic accident while using her cell phone.

"I think this legislation is a great start; it's been a long time coming," Gina Harris said. "I am confident that we will see this passed."

Morgan, D-Prague, said teenage drivers and those driving through construction or school zones would be prohibited from using wireless phones altogether.

Morgan said he anticipates bipartisan support for his measure and dismissed the contention that the bill infringes upon personal liberty. He said driving in Oklahoma is a responsibility, "not a God-given right."

"I'm not saying the uses of cell phones is not dangerous, but texting is killing people, and we have to stop it," said Rep. Morgan, who anticipates bipartisan support for this measure.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesman George Brown said texting while driving has led to numerous fatalities in the state.