Oklahoma became the 46th state to outlaw texting while driving yesterday.
Gov. Mary Fallin signed the measure into law, and it will go into effect starting Nov. 1. “Don’t text and drive in the state of Oklahoma,” she said.
Oklahoma already has a distracted driving law, but those who are caught texting on the road will soon face a $100 fine, and police officers will be able to pull people over for texting and driving. Currently, drivers have to be pulled over for some other offense in order to be cited for texting while driving.
House Bill 1965 was named for Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers Nicholas Dees and Keith Burch, who were struck by a car while investigating an accident on Jan. 31. Dees died at the scene, and Burch suffered serious injures. Burch is still undergoing rehabilitation. The driver was allegedly updating social media at the time.
“The driver of the vehicle actually didn’t notice the accident on the highway and was so distracted by looking at his mobile phone device that he never saw it until the impact of the crash itself,” Fallin said. “Today something positive will come out of this tragedy. We will sign a bill today that will protect lives and save lives.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, more than nine people are killed and over 1,153 people are injured by distracted drivers in the United States every day.