The Oklahoma Senate recently approved the Senate Bill 146 with a vote of 32 to 9, with the bill now making it illegal for drivers to text while they are driving.
The bill was authored by Senator Jerry Ellis, D-Valliant who says that this addresses not a new problem but rather, a growing one. He further claims that the public is the one seeing that texting while driving indeed leads to greater chances of encountering accidents. While an inexperienced teen driver has more of a chance of meeting up with an accident while texting, adults too have suffered from fatal accidents because of similar situations.
Research from the University of Utah supports these concerns that were outlined by Sen. Ellis. According to the research, it was found that drivers who are texting while behind the wheel are similar to drivers who are drunk. Further, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reports that when a person is texting when driving their chances of having an accident increases by 23%.
Under the recently approved bill, a fine that can be as high as $175 will be imposed on violators that are caught for the first time. For the next violation, the driver will be fined with a higher amount that can reach as high as $500. If a crash happens during the violation of the bill, fines will be doubled. These fines are applicable to drivers of any age.
There are no exceptions for people who are working on law enforcement or emergency and medical personnel, even if they are making use of wireless telecommunication for certain purposes. The bill was submitted to the House for further approval.