Oklahoma Texting While Driving Ban Signed by Governor
Gov. Mary Fallin added her signature to legislation that makes it illegal to text message while driving in Oklahoma and then issued a challenge to the state’s motorists.
“Don’t text and drive in the state of Oklahoma,” Fallin said. “We need to have a change in attitude in our state when it comes to texting or being distracted while you’re driving down the highway. It’s very dangerous.”
Oklahoma is the 46th state to pass legislation banning the practice of texting while driving.
Fallin said that in 2013, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reported that drivers distracted by electronic devices were involved in 14 fatal crashes, 602 injury crashes and 1,028 non-injury crashes.
The National Safety Council says texting while driving results in 330,000 injuries each year and is the cause of one out of four accidents, the governor said.
The legislation makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while using a hand-held electronic device to compose, send or read electronic messages while driving. Violations are punishable by a $100 fine.
House Bill 1965 makes texting and driving a primary offense, meaning Oklahoma drivers could be pulled over and ticketed for texting while driving without first having committed another traffic offense.
It contains exceptions for emergency situations and does not apply to voice-activated devices in which a driver’s hands would not be needed to write, send or read a text message.
The measure goes into effect Nov. 1.