State Senator Wants Tough Regulations On Using Phones While Driving

Friday, February 10th 2017, 6:30 pm

Using your phone for anything while driving - not just texting - could soon be illegal in Oklahoma.

State Senator J.J. Dossett is proposing changes to our texting and driving law; he said he wants drivers to have nothing but the steering wheel in their hands.

Ninth grade teacher Bobbi White died almost a year ago after a crash on 169 near a construction zone.

5/16/2016 Related Story: Teacher Dies After Owasso Car Crash; Students, Colleagues Mourn Death

"She was killed for no good reason at all," Dossett said.

Owasso police said a driver hit two cars, sending seven people to the hospital, including White, who died one day later.

She taught English at Owasso Mid-High.

Dossett said, "You can tell when kids really like a teacher, and teachers really affect them, and she was one of those teachers,"

Now, a reminder in White's honor is on school grounds - the sign says "drop it and drive."

But Dossett wants it to be more than a reminder - he wants it to be the law, saying our current law isn't strong enough.

"When you get pulled over for texting, all you have to do right now is say 'I wasn't texting, I was on social media, I was on Twitter, I was checking my calendar, I was looking at a map,' and that's not defined in our law as illegal - just the texting part is," he said.

If the law passes, Dossett said drivers could be fined up to $100. But, if they were in a school or construction zone and caused an injury, they could be fined up to $5,000. If a driver causes a deadly crash, like Bobbi's, it could be up to $10,000.

Dossett said, "In our fast-paced world, sometimes we have to step back and do what's safe instead of doing what’s efficient at that moment"

Calling 911 while you are driving would still be allowed.

As for the driver who hit White, his case is still working its way through the legal system.