The House of Representatives voted 90-5 on May 25, 2010, in favor of an Oklahoma Senate bill to make texting while driving illegal in Oklahoma for teenagers and inexperienced drivers. House co-author, Democrat Rep. Danny Morgan says he had hoped to ban texting for all drivers, but is pleased with the compromise to target younger drivers. The next step, is to pass a general law outlawing texting while driving for all drivers. This is an essential step for driver safety in Oklahoma. This blog post continues Nix Law Group’s look at an important safety initiative in Oklahoma—the banning of texting while driving.
Under the bill approved by the house, Oklahoma teens with a learner’s permit or intermediate driver’s license will have their license suspended or revoked for using any hand-held electronic device while, except in life-threatening emergencies. The bill now heads to Governor Henry for signing. The measure defines such a device as a mobile phone or any electronic device that plays or stores media, including music and video. Intermediate driver’s licenses apply to teens through the age of 18.
As of May 2010, 25 states have banned texting while driving due to the unprecedented danger caused by the distraction. According to the AAA Auto Club South, texting while driving causes reaction times to decline by 35 percent and steering control by 91 percent. By comparison, a British study performed by the Transport Research Laboratory concluded that the reaction time of people high on marijuana was lowered by 21 percent, and the reaction time of those who were intoxicated was lowered by 12 percent. Finally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that drivers distracted by texting are at least 20 times more likely to be involved in a automobile crash than non-distracted drivers.
At Nix Law Group, we have experience in representing the victims of motor vehicle accidents as a result of inattentive driers in Oklahoma. If you or a loved on have suffered death or severe injuries in a car crash or other motor vehicle accident, please contact our attorneys today at www.oklahomaautoaccidentlaw.com.