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Oklahoma One Step Close To Adopting Texting And Driving Law

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma may be one step closer to adopting a law against texting while driving. Right now, 42 of 50 states already have texting bans in place.

Some lawmakers believe drivers are paying too much attention to their phones and not what's going on around them.

"Think we owe it to not only our young drivers, but we also owe it to all the people that use the roads in the state of Oklahoma, to make the roads as safe as we can," said Rep. Terry O'Donnell.

O'Donnell authored House Bill 2540, one of 14 texting and driving bills introduced by this current group of lawmakers. The measure would prohibit texting, emailing and instant messaging while driving a vehicle. Rep. O' Donnell says it would reduce the number of accidents caused by inattentive driving.

House Bill 2540

"We know we will save lives with this measure," O'Donnell said. "We don't know how many."

Unlike previous measures taking aim at distracted driving, O' Donnell feels his bill addresses the public safety concern but without giving police too much power.

"People do not want citizens to be pulled over under a suspicion of texting," he said. "This eliminates that concern."

Under this measure, texting while driving would be a secondary offense. That means an officer could only ticket drivers who are texting, after pulling them over for some other offense like speeding, swerving or if an accident occurs.

"We're just beating this to death, we already have distracted driving, inattentive driving, which includes texting," Rep. Mike Ritze said.

Ritze opposes the bill, saying it raises privacy concerns and would be tough to enforce.

Rep. O'Donnell agrees, enforcement could be difficult but believes the time has come to take on that challenge.

"The thrust of this is to teach our citizens that it is wrong, that level of distraction is wrong when behind the wheel," he said.

Several are questioning how officers would know if the driver was texting and driving. Well, best we can tell it will be on the honor system until prosecution. At that point, law enforcement could gain access to your phone records.

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