NORMAN — Studies show drivers who text while they are moving are 23 times more likely to end up in a vehicle crash. Texting and driving breaks the first rule learned in driver’s education, which is to keep your hands on the wheel and focus full attention on the road.
But Oklahoma only bans texting and driving by teenagers. House Bill 1503 would change that. It would allow fines of as much as $500 for drivers who are caught using a cellphone to send or read a text message while driving.
Some lawmakers don’t want to support the legislation because it’s another example of government intrusion into personal lives. Drivers, teens and otherwise, make bad choices. The concentration required for texting or reading messages is different than eating, smoking or looking out the car window.
A coalition of state groups, including AAA Oklahoma and others, have formed a task force to push for a statewide ban. We support the texting ban, although it will be difficult for state and local law enforcement officers to enforce. Unless officers witness the behavior, it will be difficult to prove.