The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2018, over 2,800 people lost their lives in accidents involving distracted drivers. Distracted driving is when a motorist engages in any behavior that requires them to take their hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road, and their minds off driving.
One of the most common types of distracted driving is texting while driving. It's estimated that a person who reads or sends a text while behind the wheel is not looking at the road for an average of 5 seconds. Although that doesn't seem like much time, when going 55 miles an hour, a driver can cover the entire length of a football field. That's 120 yards where anything or anyone can pop out in front of a vehicle.
The Law on Texting While Driving
Because of the dangers of texting while driving, many states across the U.S. have banned this type of conduct. And in November of 2016, Oklahoma became the 46th state to enact such legislation.
Oklahoma's texting while driving law states that it is illegal for a motorist to use an electronic communication device to do any of the following while their car is in motion:
- Write an electronic message
- Send an electronic message
- Read an electronic message
The law applies whether the driver is transmitting or receiving a text, photo, video, or email.
An electronic communication device includes any device that can be used to manually transmit written messages. If a motorist is using a hands-free device to compose or read electronic messages, or they are operating a system built into their vehicle, such as a GPS, they are not violating the law.
Additionally, it's not illegal for a person to use an electronic communication device if they are in an emergency and are contacting:
- An operator;
- A health care practitioner;
- An ambulance service;
- A firefighting service; or
- A law enforcement agency
What Are the Conviction Penalties for Texting While Driving?
In Oklahoma, texting while driving is a primary offense. That means an officer can pull someone over and cite them if they observe the motorist transmitting or reading a text while they're behind the wheel. The officer does not first need to see the driver commit some other traffic violation, such as running a red light.
If the driver is convicted, they can be fined $100.
If you've received a traffic ticket, paying the fine is not your only option. You may be able to fight it, and to do so effectively, you need the help of an experienced Norman, OK, attorney. Call the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C. at (866) 590-8173 or contact us online today.