Texting while driving ban advances in state House
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
2/19/13 at 12:39 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY — A House committee approved legislation Tuesday to ban texting while driving.
House Bill 1503 — sponsored by Rep. Curtis McDaniel, D-Smithville — would allow a fine of up to $500 for people caught using a cell phone to write, send or read a text message, instant message or email while driving.
The proposal, which passed the House Transportation Committee on a 12-2 vote, includes exceptions for emergency response operators, medical officials, ambulance drivers, firefighters and law enforcement.
McDaniel said there is an “epidemic” of young drivers texting while driving. While state laws against driving while distracted already apply to the situation, he said some drivers will assume that if texting isn’t specifically addressed in law, it is OK.
In fact, texting while driving has been shown to be six times more dangerous than drinking while driving, he said.
“It is not OK,” he said.
Rep. Josh Cockroft, R-Tecumseh, said he sees the need, but questions the proposal’s enforceability.
“I cannot be convinced .?.?. that this could ever be enforced,” he said.
He also raised concerns about writing laws to address issues that really are issues of personal responsibility.
“Where do we draw the line of personal responsibility and freedom and security and freedom?” he asked.
With Tuesday’s passage of the bill, it becomes eligible for consideration by the full House of Representatives.
Read more in tomorrow's Tulsa World.
Lane Bushyhead, a freshman at Edison, texts a message during an It Can Wait demonstration outside Edison Preparatory School in Tulsa back in October. Students drove through simulations and sent messages while a computer tracked how many times they made driving mistakes. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World File