OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Legislature voted Tuesday to make it illegal for Oklahoma teens to text while driving.
State Senate Bill 1908, by Reps. Sue Tibbs and Danny Morgan and State Sen. Anthony Sykes, would prohibit any driver operating under a learner's permit or an intermediate driver's license (class D) from using a hand held electronic device to talk or text when the car is in motion.
In addition, learner's permit holders would only be able to drive between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.
"Young drivers need to focus on driving and learning how to be a good driver instead of talking to friends and potentially endangering their lives or the lives of others," said Tibbs, R-Tulsa.
"Considering the fact that we're talking about 3,000 pounds of metal traveling at 40 to 75 miles per hour on autopilot, it's clearly dangerous to have teens texting while driving. It's a dangerous situation that could lead to tragedy."
"Our children know they shouldn't text and drive, but do it anyway because there's currently no big penalty when they get caught," said Morgan, D-Prague. "These are new drivers. They need to have both eyes focused on the road ahead, not on a cell phone screen."
Violation of state Senate Bill 1908 would result in the suspension of the driver's license, payment of court costs and ticket fees.
Rep. Morgan said he was somewhat disappointed by the elimination from the bill of provisions banning all drivers from texting while driving, but pleased that at least younger drivers will be protected.
"The evidence on texting while driving is so compelling that virtually everyone who is involved in highway safety or law enforcement has now endorsed a complete ban on texting while driving, and that includes everyone from AAA to the Department of Public Safety," said Morgan. "This bill is a good start, and hopefully we will be able to complete the job in the next session."
State Senate Bill 1908 passed the state House on a 90-5 vote and now goes to the governor to be signed into law.