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New Law Would Make Texting While Driving Illegal

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If you’re texting in Oklahoma while driving and get pulled over, you could suddenly find yourself slapped with an extra $500 fine!  That’s what the Oklahoma Senate Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security wants.  They recently approved a bill that would give police the authority to fine motorists for texting if they are pulled over for some other reason.  The bill passed the committee with a six to two vote, and now it goes to the full Senate.  A similar bill is also in debate in the House.  Currently, it is only illegal for drivers under 18 who only have a learner’s permit to text while driving.

The big thing to note here is that drivers can only be fined IF they were pulled over for some other reason (speeding, running a red light, etc.).  Texting while driving, then, is still legal as long as you can do it without having an accident or missing a stop sign!  What’s interesting is that there is some opposition to this bill. 

Senators who oppose it wonder how far the state can go in determining what someone does in their vehicle, while those in favor say that the government should step in when someone endangers others.  I have no problem with a ban on texting while driving, but I wonder if it will open the floodgates for other laws.  I mean, isn’t it just as dangerous to drive while eating a hamburger, trying to set a GPS, or putting on makeup?  I’ve even heard people talk about changing cloths while driving!  Now that can’t be safe.

So where does it end?  Do we fine the person who caused an accident because he was texting while driving but not the person who rear-ended another car while trying to eat his fast-food burrito? 

Here are some blogs related to the issue:

The Washington State Department of Transportation has a good blog on the subject, including how smart phones may be the cause.

David Bernstein has a blog on texting bans, including a discussion of the Kansas law and a look at Oklahoma’s previous attempt to ban texting while driving.

On the AxXiom for Liberty blog, there’s a nice article and video on the proposed law.

Finally, Adam’s Oklahoma City Blog talks about an attempt to get drivers to sign a “no texting while driving” pledge and mentions the city ordinance on failure to devote attention to driving.

Tags: Only in OKC       

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