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Distracted driving accidents in Oklahoma may go down after November 1st of this year. A new law will make texting while driving a primary offense in the state and hopefully reduce the number of distracted driver deaths on Oklahoma roads.

Though texting while driving has been a long time concern for authorities, they can now stop anyone they witness doing it and fine them up to $100 for each violation. There will not be any points taken away from drivers cited for texting while driving, but the fine may be enough.

The law will hopefully deter teens and other drivers from engaging in distracting activities like texting and posting to social media while driving. The law does have a few exceptions, however. Drivers in an emergency situation or using a hands-free device will not be stopped or fined.

The law has been passed in honor of two members of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol that were involved in a crash due to a distracted driver. One officer lost his life and the other was seriously injured when a driver collided with their vehicle while allegedly updating a social media page.

According to Oklahoma authorities, drivers are 23 times more likely to cause an accident when texting. While Oklahoma is just now passing this law, Minnesota is another state that has implemented it with huge success. The number of distracted driver accidents has noticeably gone down since the law was passed.

Texting while driving is a serious concern. It is a negligent behavior that has the potential to injure and kill others. Passing this law is a great start to ending this recklessness. However, for those that are still impacted by a distracted driver, holding them accountable in court may be the only way to put a stop to their negligence.

Source: Woodward News, “Texting while driving ban takes effect Nov. 1,” Robin Hohweiler, Oct. 13, 2015