Okla. Bill Aims to Ban Texting, Cell Phone Use by Teens While Driving

January 25, 2008

Oklahoma House Democratic Leader Danny Morgan has filed legislation that would make it illegal for teenagers to use cell phones or text while driving.

In announcing his bill, Morgan, D-Prague, said he believes the measure, House Bill 2964, would provide “incentive for those kids to focus on driving instead of talking on the phone.”

HB 2964 would make it illegal for anyone younger than 18 to “operate a motor vehicle on a street or highway while using a cellular telephone or electronic communication device while the motor vehicle is in motion.”

Teenagers caught talking while driving would face a $25 fine.

The bill contains exemptions in emergency situations requiring police or medical attention.

The link between cell-phone use and driver inattention has been the subject of several formal studies in recent years. The 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study, conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (release in April 2006), found that almost 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds of the event. The study found that the most common distraction is the use of cell phones.

Motorists who use cell phones while driving are also four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, according to a July 2005 study of drivers in Perth, Australia, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives, www.lsb.state.ok.us/

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