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.
“No law enforcement officer shall issue a citation under this section unless the law enforcement officer observes that the operator of the vehicle is involved in an accident or observes the operator of the vehicle driving in such a manner that poses an articulable danger to other persons on the roadway that is not otherwise specified in statute.'”
Now, who is included in this? Take another look at the first sentence in the statute.
“This applies to every operator of a motor vehicle on the roadway,” Randolph says. “However, law enforcement officers, specifically, OHP, teaches troopers how to operate their patrol car while multitasking.
“Troopers must show proficiency in operating the radio, computer, radar, in-car video equipment all while driving.
“Occasionally, a trooper will need to make/receive phone calls while in their patrol car, but are not authorized to text and drive or send/receive emails on their mobile devices while driving.”
By the way ...
Here's an update for those people who travel between Edmond and Guthrie on Broadway.
Mark Sharpton, Logan County District 1 commissioner, tells me that the anxiously awaited resurfacing of the three miles of Broadway, from Waterloo to Simpson, is scheduled to begin May 13.
The contract was signed in December with Atlas Paving Company, but weather and a backlog of projects delayed the paving, Sharpton said.
With cooperative weather, the paving can be done in about a week. The striping will occur before long. Stay alert.
Enjoy your week and drive safely.