Proposed texting while driving ban passed by Oklahoma Senate

Recently, Oklahoma moved one step closer to coming into line with the vast majority of other states when it comes to texting while driving. 

As we mentioned in a previous post, unlike most states, Oklahoma currently does not have a law that directly prohibits all drivers in the state from texting when they are operating a motor vehicle. Rather, Oklahoma presently only directly bans the practice for some specific classes of drivers. 

A bill in Oklahoma's legislature would change this. If passed by the state, this bill would institute a state-wide ban on texting while driving that would apply to all drivers. Last week, this proposed legislation cleared a legislative hurdle; it was approved by the state's senate. The state's house will now be considering the bill.  Proponents of the bill say it could help save lives if passed.

When it comes to any proposed legislation involving traffic safety, the specific details of the legislation can be very important to look at, as such details can be quite impactful on how effective the legislation would be at achieving its intended goals if passed. Thus, a natural question an Oklahoman may have regarding the proposed texting while driving ban the senate approved is: What are its specifics? Here are some of the details of the proposed ban:

  • It would only ban drivers from texting through use of a handheld device, it would not ban drivers from texting through hands-free technology.   
  • A $100 fine would be the standard penalty for drivers who violate the ban.
  • There would be exceptions to the ban in certain emergency situations.
  • It would make texting while driving a primary offense (this came about through an amendment the senate added). This means seeing a driver texting, on its own, would be sufficient grounds for a police officer in the state to pull the driver over.

What do you think of the details of this proposed texting-while-driving ban? Do you think the fine level the bill would set for texting while driving would have a significant deterrent effect on texting behind the wheel? What do you think of the idea of making texting while driving a primary offense? Are there any changes you think should be made to the specifics of the proposed ban? Would you like to see this particular proposed texting ban become law in Oklahoma? What is your opinion of total texting-while-driving bans generally?

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