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Combating Distracted Driving in Oklahoma

Posted on August 24, 2017

Oklahoma has taken steps — and might take additional steps — to combat distracted driving, which has proven dangerous to motorists, passengers and pedestrians.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, in 2014 hundreds of people (637 to be exact) were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. There were also 14 fatalities. But a law banning texting while driving went into effect in November 2015, and since then injury crashes involving a driver distracted by an electronic device have fallen significantly.

In fact, the executive director of Oklahoma Challenge, an organization that talks to young people about the dangers of distracted driving, says that the texting ban is a good deterrent because they don’t want to get pulled over and ticketed.

Some lawmakers want to build on that success by banning motorists from making handheld phone calls, checking emails and updating social media while the car is in motion. Other aspects of the proposed law include:

  • There would be exceptions to the phone call ban for emergencies.
  • Current law requires drivers to admit to texting before police can issue a ticket. The new law would allow officers who see a violation to issue a ticket.
  • The law would still permit hands-free phone calls.

The bill was introduced in the state Senate in February 2017, but it’s not yet clear whether the measure — or anything similar — will become law.

Examples of Distracted Driving Incidents

In July 2017, a 22-year-old man sustained serious head injuries in an accident in Comanche County, about 3 miles east of Elgin. Oklahoma Highway Safety Patrol officials say that the car struck a concrete barrier and rolled one time, landing on its top, before bursting into flames. They believe that distracted driving was a factor.

A highway was recently dedicated to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper who was killed by a distracted driver in 2015. Troopers Nicholas Dees and Keith Burch were investigating an accident on Interstate-40 when they were struck by the distracted driver (he had been texting). Burch was seriously injured but survived the accident. The law banning texting while driving was named The Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act in their honor.

Reach Out to Us Today

Contact the law office of Charles Bryan Alred, P.C., today if you are injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver. We will help you recover compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.