Oklahoma introduces bill that would ban phone calls in cars

A new bill recently introduced at the Oklahoma state capitol would ban phone calls in cars while on the roads.

The new bill, introduced by a state senator, builds on a law passed last year that banned texting while driving throughout the state of Oklahoma. This law also bans writing, reading or checking emails while driving and updating social media accounts.

"You see it everyday," the senator said when introducing the new bill. "You still see men and women texting, and you look in their back seat and there's their kids. You still run into the problem that people think they can multitask, but of course they can't."

The bill, Senate Bill 44, would ban the use of handheld devices for any reason while driving. Drivers would still be able to use built-in navigation devices, bluetooth devices and hands-free devices when driving.

The bill did name exemptions for emergency situations.

"You cannot put this next to your ear and drive down the road," the senator said while holding his cell phone. "When they're on the phone, they take their hand completely off the steering wheel they get so excited, so involved in the conversation. We can't have that. That's dangerous when you're driving 70 down the highway."

The current law makes it difficult to spot violations and issue fines because drivers have to admit texting while driving. The new bill would allow officers to issue fines of up to $100 if they see drivers using cellphones while being the wheel.

AAA Oklahoma released figures from 2015 after the state's texting and driving law went into effect. Those statistics include a 12.5 percent reduction in total crashes, a 21.6 reduction in injury crashes and a 30 percent reduction in fatal crashes.

"It's working, and that's great news," a statement from AAA Oklahoma said. "The message has gotten through to motorists in Oklahoma: That texting while driving, emailing while driving is so dangerous, there's a law against it and, guess what, they're voluntarily putting the phone down. Crashes are being prevented, lives are being saved."

Both the senator and AAA Oklahoma are expecting pushback from the public.

Have you or a loved one been injured by a distracted driver? An experienced car accidents attorney in Oklahoma will be able to guide you through the legal process.

Source: kfor.com, "New bill would ban handheld phone calls in the car," LORNE FULTONBERG, Dec. 26, 2016

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