Efforts to get a measure passed this year in Oklahoma's Legislature to ban texting have run into a dead end.
House Republicans managed Tuesday to stymie three attempts by House Democrats to get language added to measures that would make texting while driving illegal in limited areas, such as school zones, work zones and intersections.
House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, said Tuesday's attempts were likely the last to be made this year. Rep. Curtis McDaniel, whose bill that would have banned texting while driving didn't get a hearing in the House of Representatives, tried again two weeks ago to outlaw the practice by filing an amendment to a bill. It failed.
Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, filed a similar amendment Tuesday, which was ruled not germane to the bill.
Rep. Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs, tried to get an amendment passed that would have made reckless driving a primary offense, which would have covered activities such as texting, applying makeup and eating or drinking while driving. A parliamentary procedure killed the amendment.
“We tried to make it safer for people on the road,” Inman said. “We tried, and the majority defeated us every time. That's how the process works.
“So now, since we've exhausted our remedies, I'm looking at you, I'm asking you for help,” he told House Republicans. “You can change it. Those of you in the majority caucus can change this process.”
McDaniel, D-Smithville, said GOP House leaders didn't want the ban on texting while driving. Republicans outnumber Democrats 72-29 in the House.
House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, who has voted against similar legislation in the past, has said he didn't support this year's legislation either.
House Democrats said public opinion largely favors a ban on texting while driving.
“Thirty-nine other states have already outlawed texting while driving,” Inman said.