Texting And Driving Ban Awaits Gov. Mary Fallin's Signature

Wednesday, April 29th 2015, 10:21 pm

By: News 9

Oklahoma is set to ban texting while driving, but there are questions on what exactly the law will cover when it comes to all the other things we can do with our phones.

It seems like a no brainer, but texting and driving in Oklahoma is not illegal yet. Oklahoma will be one of the last states in the country to make this practice against the law. For more than a decade, lawmakers have been trying to outlaw it, but it's now finally getting the push it needs.

4/29/15 Related Story: Oklahoma House Approves Bill Banning Texting And Driving

“We passed a measure making it a secondary offense in the house initially,” State Representative Terry O'Donnell said. “It went over to the senate, and that's when the highway patrol became more actively involved in the measure.”

This comes, after a deadly accident that killed one trooper and injured another when a distracted driver was updating social media. House Bill 1965 states "It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle on any street or highway within this state while using a hand-held electronic communication device to manually compose, send or read an electronic text message while the motor vehicle is in motion."

It basically means, any time you're composing a message on your phone, you'll be breaking the law.

“Anything that includes manipulating the phone such that you are putting in letters,” O'Donnell said.

Right now, it's a secondary offense meaning you can't be pulled over for it unless you're doing something else wrong, but it will soon be a primary offense.

Playing music or making a call from your phone is excluded. O'Donnell said the bill is not the beginning of banning all cell phone use.

“That's not my intention,” he said. “I just know that because texting requires your visual, your manual and your mental skills all at the same time I wanted to get that outlawed.”

Governor Fallin is expected to sign the bill. It will go into effect Nov. 1.


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