Under a measure that passed out of a legislative committee on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017, using a cellphone while driving in a construction or school zone would be illegal.
Senate Bill 132, authored by Senator J.J. Dossett (D-Owasso), was passed by the Senate Public Safety Committee by a vote of 9-1. The measure now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.
The bill expands Oklahoma’s recently adopted ban on texting and driving. In addition, the measure exempts those who use hands-free devices while driving.
One of the main concerns is the fines associated with the offense, which are viewed as too low. The fines are $100 if the driver is caught using the cellphone by law enforcement, up to $2,000 if an accident results in injury, and up to $5,000 if an accident results in death.
“The idea here is not to fine people through the roof where they can’t afford a simple fine for breaking the law,” said Dossett in defense on Public Radio Tulsa. “The idea is to, hopefully, prevent them from being distracted while they operate a potentially deadly piece of machinery.”
Dossett’s main goal is to curb distracted driving which he believes has become an epidemic, especially among young people.
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