Oklahoma measure to ban texting while driving hits roadblock goes off road

The Oklahoma House of Representatives committee that decides whether measures will be heard by the full House has stalled a bill that would ban texting while driving.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: February 28, 2013 at 10:03 pm •  Published: March 1, 2013
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‘Preventive medicine'

Chuck Mai, with Oklahoma AAA, said the reckless driving and inattentive driving laws are secondary enforcement laws.

“A texting ban would avoid the crash, would avoid the erratic driving,” he said. “It's preventive medicine.”

A 2010 law aimed mostly at young motorists prohibits those driving with a learner's permit or a graduated driver's license from using hand-held electronic devices.

House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, said he hopes HB 1503 can wiggle free of the Calendar Committee's grasp and get a hearing in the full House.

“While many in the Republican majority will argue that it's protecting citizens' rights, we believe the vast majority of citizens, whether they be 16-year-old new drivers or 70-year-old experienced drivers, overwhelmingly support banning texting while driving,” he said. “The right that we're trying to protect is the right to life — the right to drive down the street and not be rear-ended and have your life in danger because someone was not looking at the road and was instead sending a text message to their friend or neighbor.”

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said motorists who text while driving pose genuine safety concerns.

“It will get the appropriate consideration if it gets over here,” he said.

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