Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: March 13, 2014
Sen. Ron Sharp
Sharp disappointed in lack of consideration
of bill to ban texting while driving
Last year, approximately 2,000 Oklahomans were involved
in crashes caused by drivers distracted by their cell phones and
other electronic devices. More than 700 of those individuals sustained
injuries while ten of them were killed according to the Oklahoma
Highway Safety Office. On Wednesday, the Senate sent Senate Bill
442 prohibiting texting while driving back to committee where Sen.
says his bill will most likely die.
“When people text and drive they’re playing Russian
roulette not only with their own lives but with those of everyone
else on the road. These crashes result in drivers spending thousands
of dollars on vehicle repairs as well as in car and health insurance
costs, while the others are burying their loved ones because someone
couldn’t wait until they got home to send that last text,”
said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “I’m so disappointed that my
colleagues wouldn’t consider this important bill that will
allow Oklahoma to join the 42 other states that have outlawed this
dangerous and deadly behavior.”
Under SB 442, first offenses would result in a fine, including court
costs, of up to $30 while second and subsequent offenses would result
in a fine of up to $50.
SB 442 was requested by AAA. Chuck Mai, vice president of public
affairs for AAA, said that texting while driving is one of the main
concerns of their members.
“AAA Oklahoma supports driver anti-texting legislation for
one reason: our members say they consider distracted drivers a significant
threat to their safety on the road, right up there with drunk drivers.
And when it comes to driver distractions, nothing matches texting
and checking email in terms of risk,” said Mai. “What’s
worse, texting while behind the wheel is at epidemic proportions
right now in Oklahoma. A law banning this dangerous practice has
never been needed more. AAA knows lives will be saved.”
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 was referred back to the Senate Public Safety Committee.
“I’m very disappointed with this procedural vote that
prevented debate on this important issue,” said Sharp. “This
bill could have saved lives and prevented personal injuries. According
to a recent AAA poll, 94 percent of their members support this legislation
but, unfortunately, the people’s voice was not represented.”
For more information, contact:
Sen. Sharp: (405) 521-5539