OHP: Texting While Driving Still A Problem Despite New Law

Thursday, April 14th 2016, 6:33 pm
By: Tess Maune

We're learning how many tickets have been handed out since Oklahoma's law banning texting and driving went into effect.

Unless your car is stopped, OHP's ticket for texting and driving costs $211.

The law has been in place for about six months, but as we found today, there still are plenty of folks who still are using their phones on the road.

It didn't take long to find people driving and looking at their phones. Some people noticed us and put their phone away.

But this woman on the Broken Arrow Expressway didn't.

She had no idea we were driving next to her recording, because her eyes were locked on her smart phone.

She had it propped on the steering wheel and didn't look at the road for several minutes, not even in a construction zone.

It took us honking several times for her to finally put the phone down.

This is all too common, OHP Trooper Dwight Durant says, even though it is against the law.

“We'll pull up next to somebody and they're so engrossed in what they're doing on their phone, they don't even know we're behind them,” Durant said.

Since November, OHP has given 352 tickets for texting and driving.

Troopers also have handed out almost 1,100 tickets for distracted driving that caused a crash, which could have been due to cell phone use.

And 525 warnings have been issued, but probably not by Durant.

“It's about safety,” he said.

He wrote one of the state's first texting and driving citations.

Durant says distracted drivers are easy to spot because they're usually swerving all over the road and just as dangerous as someone driving drunk.

“Please, people, put your phones down,” Durant said. “Whatever you're doing is not as important as what's behind the wheel. …We're not gonna tolerate it. We're looking for you.”

Tulsa police have given almost 40 tickets since November. The city's attorney says so far only one person has contested the citation.