In November 2010, Oklahoma began enforcing its Distracted Driving law signed by Gov. Brad Henry. While House Bill 2276 (PDF) doesn’t include text messaging or cell phones, it does address driving distractions.
Any activity that diverts attention from the road is considered a distraction. Some examples include texting, reading a map, drinking or talking on a cell phone (or other occupants in the vehicle).
“The operator of every vehicle, while driving, shall devote their full attention to driving.” In other words, a driver will not be pulled over and ticketed for cell phone or text messaging unless the officer observes the driver posing a safety threat to others.
Studies have repeatedly shown that texting while driving is more distracting than talking on a cell phone, and as dangerous, as driving under the influence.
An estimated 20 percent of crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. At least 6,000 deaths are attributed to distracted-driving each year and that number is believed to be growing. Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 996 involved a cell phone.
In Oklahoma, it is unlawful to drive in a manner considered careless, wanton or reckless in disregard of other persons or property.
Reckless Driving VS Distracted Driving
When comparing distracted driving to reckless driving is there a significant difference? Is one more dangerous than the other? The key idea of both is that the driver is failing to pay attention to the road essentially posing a risk to the driver as well as other vehicles on the road. And that risk can prove fatal in many instances.
Cell Phone Laws
At this time, nine states ban drivers from using a handheld phone while driving. 34 states have barred text messaging for all drivers. But, no state has yet banned all cellphone use for all drivers.
Distracted Driving Safety Tips
Avoid using a cellular device while operating a vehicle to talk and/or text.
Try to avoid activities such as eating, putting on makeup or shaving while driving.
If using a GPS in your travels, program the device before hitting the road so you aren’t distracted while driving.
Conversation is okay, but have passengers keep the noise level to a minimum.
Visit Distraction.gov to learn about specific state laws governing the use of cell phones and hand-held devices while driving.