Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: February 20, 2014
Sen. Ron Sharp
Committee gives green light to bill to ban
texting while driving
The Senate Public Safety Committee approved legislation
Wednesday that could save hundreds of Oklahoma lives. Senate Bill
442, by Sen. Ron Sharp, would make it unlawful to compose, send
or read a text message while driving.
“Too many Oklahomans are tragically being killed or killing
others because they are texting and driving,” said Sharp,
R-Shawnee. “Studies have repeatedly shown that texting while
driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving. We’ve outlawed
drinking and driving – now it’s time we put a stop to
this dangerous behavior as well before more lives are senselessly
Under SB 442, which was carried over from last session, anyone convicted
of violating the law would be punished by a fine not to exceed $500,
including court costs. The bill was amended in committee and the
fine, including court costs, was lowered to no more than $30 for
first offenses and $50 for second and subsequent offenses.
SB 442 was requested by AAA whose members are afraid for their safety
on the road because of other drivers texting. Chuck Mai, vice president
of public affairs for AAA, said the organization has been fighting
for a ban on texting in Oklahoma for the last five years.
“I can’t think of anything more dangerous than for a
driver to read, write or send a text message. Your eyes are off
the road, your hands are off the wheel and your mind is not focused
on driving,” said Mai. “AAA feels it’s time for
the Oklahoma legislature to step up and join the 42 other states
that have sent a clear and urgent message to their motorists that
texting is so dangerous that they have outlawed it.”
According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office there were more
than 11,000 crashes in 2012 caused by distracted drivers.
The bill provides exemptions for law enforcement and safety personnel;
drivers of authorized emergency vehicles; someone operating an amateur
radio or who holds a current, valid amateur radio station license
issued by the FCC; or those who use a cell phone solely to contact
an emergency response operator, a hospital, physician’s office,
health clinic, a provider of ambulance or firefighting services,
or a law enforcement agency in emergency situations.
SB 442 will now move to the full Senate for further consideration.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Sharp: (405) 521-5539