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Should Oklahoma ban all drivers from texting?

In recent years, the trend when it comes to distracted driving laws here in America has been for states to institute total bans on texting while driving, a total ban meaning that the ban applies to all drivers in a state. Currently, a vast majority of states have such a total ban in place.

However, there are a few holdouts from this trend. Oklahoma is one such holdout. Oklahoma and five other states have thus far decided to remain without a state-wide total texting-while-driving ban. 

Now this does not mean that Oklahoma law doesn't prohibit any drivers from engaging in texting when behind the wheel. Rather than a full ban, Oklahoma has a targeted ban in which there are certain classes of drivers for which texting while driving is a directly prohibited activity. Among the types of drivers that are not permitted to text-and-drive in the state are:

  • Drivers of public transit vehicles.
  • School bus drivers.
  • Drivers with a learner's permit.
  • Drivers with an intermediate license.

Given the fact that texting while driving is a major traffic safety topic these days and that there are 44 states out there with total bans, a major topic of debate here in Oklahoma (and in the other holdout states) is whether to change state law to completely ban texting-and-driving or to stay in the minority.

Where do you land in this debate? Do you think Oklahoma should institute a total ban? Do you think the current lack of a total ban is having traffic safety implications here? Do you think that distracted driving from texting while driving is more of a problem, less of a problem or about the same level of problem here in Oklahoma as it is in the nation at large?

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "Cellphones and texting," January 2015

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