Oklahoma texting-while-driving opponents fight for statewide ban

The fight to ban texting while driving continues in Oklahoma. Groups say texting while driving is one of the biggest dangers on Oklahoma roads.
by Robert Medley Published: March 17, 2013

“I think texting is the most obvious and prevalent element of distractive driving out there today, and it is being done by more and more people,” Koeneke said. “It's scary.”

Koeneke said he will continue fighting for a law that would ban texting while driving in Oklahoma.

“We'll pursue it every year if it doesn't make it,” Koeneke said.

Data kept at the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office tracks how many wrecks involve a driver being distracted by an electronic device in the vehicle.

The information doesn't specify how many wrecks are caused by texting, but Alice Collingsworth, spokeswoman for the office, said people are much more concerned about drivers who are texting these days.

“Texting and driving is extremely dangerous from our viewpoint,” Collingsworth said. “It's always heartbreaking to hear of tragedies when someone loses a loved one, and it seems like there are more and more stories of crashes, not just in Oklahoma but around the nation, every week.”

Enforcement issues

Oklahoma City police Capt. Dee Patty, who investigates crashes, agrees texting while driving is dangerous, but said officers would have a hard time enforcing a texting ban.

“It's hard to prove on our end unless you have a witness who sees someone do it,” Patty said.

She said police officers already have a hard time enforcing a law that covers failure to devote full-time attention to driving.

“Even talking on the phone divides your attention. You can see it on the roads. More and more people are doing it,” Patty said.

by Robert Medley
Breaking News Reporter
Robert Medley has been a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1989, covering various news beats in the Oklahoma City metro area and in the Norman news bureau. He has been part of the breaking news team since 2008. A 1987 University of Oklahoma...
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