Questions Remain On How Oklahoma's Anti-Texting And Driving Law Will Work


Friday, October 2nd 2015, 11:12 pm
By: News On 6


Texting while driving will soon be illegal on Oklahoma roads. The new law goes into effect November 1, but there are still many questions about how it will work.

While the law states you can be pulled over for texting, people are wondering about using a GPS or having a web page open.

So far, most Oklahoma agencies haven't been briefed on how the new law will change their protocols, but one thing’s for sure, it'll definitely impact our driving habits.

Cell phones are without a doubt distracting on the road; and within just a few minutes Friday, we caught drivers consumed with their phones while at a stop light on 21st Street.

JulieAnne Thomison said she’s been on the receiving end of a distracted driver.

"Someone was texting and drifted across the lane and actually rear ended the back of our car. We did a 360-degree turn," she said.

She wasn't hurt, but that's not always the case.

In January of this year, a driver who was believed to be updating social media hit two Oklahoma state troopers who were working an accident.

It killed Trooper Nicholas Dees and injured Trooper Keith Burch.

2/7/2015 Related Story: Mourners Gather To Honor Fallen Oklahoma Trooper Nicholas Dees

Dees’ wife, along with Tulsa group Generation Text - which Thomison works with - helped get the bill passed. Thomison was at the state capitol, sitting behind Dees’ wife, when it was signed into law.

5/5/2015 Related Story: Gov. Mary Fallin Signs Bill Banning Texting And Driving

"We were able to rejoice in the fact that their family's loss was not in vain, but it was rejoiced, and they are going to be saving lives," Thomison said.

Law enforcement across the state is still figuring out how the law impacts the way they do their jobs, and sometimes the answer depends on who you ask.

Some say it will include email and updating social media, others are still figuring it out.

Generation Text has an even stricter way of looking at the law.

"Don't tweet, don't Facebook, don't call on your cell phone or anything like that," Thomison said.

The City of Tulsa is taking it a step farther. It’s banned employees from using electronics while behind the wheel, and that includes hands-free devices.

The City also just passed an ordinance against texting and driving to coincide with the state law.

If you get caught writing or reading a text while driving after November 1, you'll have to pay a $100 fine.