GUTHRIE, October 25, 2015— Beginning Sunday, Nov. 1 texting while driving becomes illegal in Oklahoma. In an effort to make roads and highways safer, the legislature passed and Governor Fallin signed into law House Bill (HB) 1965, a statewide ban against texting while driving, which makes Oklahoma the 46th state in the U.S. to prohibit the practice.
HB 1965 makes texting while driving a primary offense in Oklahoma, meaning an officer can pull over a texting motorist and issue a citation without witnessing any other violations. Violating this new law carries a fine of up to $100.
“Too many times, we’ve seen that texting while driving often ends in tragedy, which is why we took steps to pass a statewide ban against texting while driving,” said Senator A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie. “I’m hopeful that with this law, we can help make our Oklahoma roads safer for all travelers.”
In 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, drivers distracted by electronic devices in Oklahoma were involved in 14 fatal crashes and more than 600 crashes that caused injury. These include head-on collisions, side impact collisions and rear-end collisions.
As Nov. 1 gets closer, here are some tips to help all Oklahoma motorists comply with this new texting while driving ban and keep themselves, and others, safe while on the road:
· Keep your phone on silent or turned off when you are behind the wheel.
· Download free mobile apps, like AT&T DriveMode, which silences incoming texts and emails and then auto-replies to the message, letting the sender know you’re driving and will respond when you’ve arrived safely.
· Set-up hands-free bluetooth in your car for talking on the phone.
· Store your phone in the glove box or somewhere out-of-reach while driving.