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Okla. Finds Texting and Driving Laws Hard to Enforce

In 2015, Oklahoma joined the ranks of nearly every other state in the nation by banning texting and driving. Drivers using a cellphone while they drive is often cited as one of the top causes of motor vehicle accidents, and the state hoped their new law would eliminate many of those wrecks. What they found instead was that such laws are quite difficult to actually enforce.

Both state and city ordinances are in place to stop drivers from texting and driving. However, police officers must witness the driver actually texting to give out a citation for the act. Since most drivers are not going to bring their phone up to text, but rather keep their phone by their side or in their lap, that is difficult to enforce. In addition, for some cities, such as Midwest City, texting and driving is a moving violation. As such, drivers are allowed to text when they are stopped, such as at a red light.

Since the law was passed, Oklahoma City police have issued nearly 200 tickets for texting and driving. However, because there is no set statistic for how many people actually use their phone while operating a motor vehicle, it is difficult to quantify how successful the law is. In addition, because the officer must see the driver texting, and can’t confiscate their phone during a traffic stop to prove it, it has been difficult to catch perpetrators.

In Oklahoma, texting and driving comes with a $100 fine. Though police officers may find it difficult to actually catch people in the act, they hope the law will have other effects. Mainly, they hope the risk of that fine will deter people from texting while driving, just in case they are caught. In addition, they hope such a law will bring to light just how dangerous texting and driving is.

Texting and driving is also illegal in New York. If you have been issued a citation for cellphone use behind the wheel, contact Feifer & Greenberg today to learn more about how we can help you fight this ticket.