Traffic Talk: Efforts to ban texting while driving keep stalling in Legislature

Don Gammill: What are the rules and regulations on law officers using cellphones, computers in their cars?
by Don Gammill Published: May 6, 2013
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Not a week goes by that I don't get a call, email or letter in reference to our Legislature continuing to look for ways to bring up — and shoot down — banning texting while driving.

Most recently, the Oklahoma House “tabled a ban that came in an amendment to a bill dealing with penalties for reckless driving,” The Oklahoman editorial staff wrote.

“Rep. Curtis McDaniel, D-Smithville, originally introduced a texting ban bill that passed through a House committee but wasn't heard on the floor. He also tried unsuccessfully to add the ban as an amendment to another bill.

“(April 28), three tries to get anti-texting language added to legislation were rejected. One would have limited the ban to places like school zones and work zones, and even that got shot down.

“Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, is among those opposed to banning driving and texting, and so Oklahoma remains one of just 11 states that haven't cracked down on this dangerous and omnipresent practice.”

My prediction? There will be more of the same.

Meanwhile, in a related but different area, I still get questions or comments from time to time on the following. Read on, because this one DOES have an answer.

What is the “rule” (or law) on police officers or highway patrol when they use a cell or computer in their cars? Thought they had to pull over, like anyone else is supposed to. See a lot of them who don't.

Trooper Betsy Randolph, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, has your answer:

“Oklahoma Statute Title 47:11-901b says, ‘The operator of every vehicle, while driving, shall devote their full time and attention to such driving.


by Don Gammill
General Assignment Editor and Columnist
Don Gammill is general assignment editor and columnist. A native of Ponca City, he graduated from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma). While in college, he was a sports stringer for The Oklahoma City Times....
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