Tulsa mother implores Oklahoma lawmakers to ban texting while driving

A Tulsa mother of a 19-year-old who was killed in a car collision while talking on her cellphone urged Oklahoma lawmakers to pass a bill that would ban texting while driving.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: February 28, 2013

Gina Harris, whose 19-year-old daughter was killed in a car collision while taking on her cellphone to her best friend, tearfully implored lawmakers Wednesday to pass legislation to outlaw texting while driving.

Brittanie Montgomery, who was named to the NBA's Oklahoma City Hornets dance team shortly before the 2006 wreck in Oklahoma City, lost control of her vehicle, which went across four lanes of traffic. Her car was struck by a car carrying a family of four, which included a pregnant mom.

“My daughter's choice almost ended five other lives, which I am so thankful that did not happen,” said Harris, of Tulsa.

It's illegal in Oklahoma for new teen drivers to text and drive, but that prohibition expires for most.

“The law that we have banning text-driving is clearly not enough,” she said.

House Bill 1503, which passed a House of Representatives committee earlier and is awaiting a hearing in the full House, would allow a fine of as much as $500 for people caught using a cellphone to write, send or read a text message, instant message or email while driving. The measure includes exceptions for emergency response operators, medical officials, ambulance drivers, firefighters and law enforcement officials.

Harris said she has met opposition mostly from Republican lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature who consider a ban as government intrusion on individual rights.