By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
A recent attempt to make a state law limiting texting while driving has failed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives like other numerous attempts, frustrating lawmakers.
Reps. Curtis McDaniel, D-Smithville, Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa, Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, and Jerry Shoemake, D-Morris, have introduced bills and amendments banning texting while driving, but they have all continually failed to get past the House. Republicans and Democrats have introduced measures this session banning texting while driving, and none have been successful.
Stillwater Police Capt. Randy Dickerson said he often sees drivers distracted by their phones resulting in poor driving behavior.
“Obviously it takes one’s attention off the task of driving, especially at high speeds or in heavily congested areas,” Dickerson said. “It only takes a second for something tragic to happen.”
It is difficult, he said, to say whether or not a specific bill would help law enforcement without looking at the language, but if it addresses the issue of distracted driving and possibly requires hands-free communication, he supports it.
“Certainly any time drivers are distracted it makes it much more dangerous for everyone involved,” said Sheriff’s Department Capt. Kevin Woodward. “Tragic accidents happen for something that we could take five minutes to stop and do.”
He said the sheriff’s department supports any law that makes it safer for drivers.