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Distracted Driving Laws in Oklahoma | Dakota Low

Distracted Driving Laws in Oklahoma

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 Is Texting and Driving Illegal in Oklahoma? 

Distracted driving is illegal in Oklahoma, according to 47 OK Stat. 47-11-901b, which states that drivers must “devote their complete time and attention to such driving.”

In addition, Oklahoma lawmakers approved the “Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act of 2015,” which prohibits texting while driving. It was named after two Oklahoma state troopers who were killed when a distracted driver crashed into them. When it went into effect, the law made it illegal for drivers to operate a motor vehicle while writing, sending, or reading a text message on a “hand-held electronic communication device.” As a result, every driver on Oklahoma roads is prohibited from texting while driving.

Unlike several other states, Oklahoma’s texting-while-driving ban is regarded as a major offense. This means that a police officer can stop a motorist over only because he or she sees the driver using his or her cell phone to send a text message. To start a traffic stop, the officer does not need to see any other traffic crime.

Cell phone use in emergency situations, such as contacting with 911, hospitals, doctors’ offices, ambulance services, fire departments, or law enforcement organizations, is exempt from the law.

What Are the Penalties in Oklahoma for Texting and Driving?

A $100 fine can be imposed for violating the texting-while-driving rule. The law also bars teen drivers from making phone calls on their cell phones (subject to the emergency exception). Adult drivers may make phone calls using either hands-free or hands-free technology. If a teen driver breaks the law, his or her driving rights may be suspended.

If a motorist is found to have been texting and driving in the moments preceding up to an auto accident, and the driver’s distraction was the cause of the accident, the driver may be held accountable in a civil lawsuit for any injuries or damages caused by the accident to other people. 

Because texting and driving in violation of the law may allow carelessness to be presumed as a matter of law, a conviction for texting and driving may serve as the basis for a negligence per se claim in a vehicle accident case. Even if the driver is never charged with breaking the law, the charges are withdrawn, or the driver is acquitted, an accident victim may still be entitled to obtain compensation from a distracted driver who causes a crash. The criminal case is distinct from the civil case, and the standard of proof is lower. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in an Oklahoma texting-while-driving accident, call The Law Firm of Dakota Low at (405) 601-8899 immediately to schedule a free consultation with one of our Oklahoma City distracted driving injury lawyers to discuss the details of your case and learn more about your legal rights and choices.

Statistics on Distracted Driving in Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s data gathering techniques are fairly limited when it comes to determining the prevalence of distracted driving. At the moment, law enforcement can only distinguish between certain types of data, such as the use of a cell phone against the use of a navigation system versus a distraction other than an electronic device.

But here’s what we do know about distracted drivers in Oklahoma:

  • Drivers aged 16 to 25 are the most likely to be involved in a crash caused by an electronic device or other distraction, followed by drivers aged 26 to 35.
  • Crashes involving mobile device distraction are most common between the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • The biggest number of accidents involving inattentive driving occur on Fridays.

Despite the new regulation, distracted driving-related fatalities and injuries climbed in 2016. 

The Big Picture of Distracted Driving

Driving while distracted is as dangerous as driving while inebriated. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers who use a cell phone (handheld or hands-free) while driving have the same response time disadvantages as drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent (the legal threshold for drunk driving).

Distracted driving isn’t only about talking on the phone or texting.

A driver who is distracted by his or her phone behind the wheel is four times more likely to crash than one who is focused on the road. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 are the most likely to be distracted while driving.

In 2015, about 3,500 people were murdered and nearly 400,000 people were injured in car accidents caused by inattentive driving. Distracted driving can take various forms. While mobile phone use in general and texting in particular attract the most attention, it can also take many forms.

The following are some more common driver distractions:

  • Eating
  • Changing the radio station
  • Changing the navigation controls
  • Grooming
  • Dealing with passengers in the backseat, such as youngsters or pets

The Oklahoma injury lawyers at The Law Office of Dakota C. Low can assist you if you were injured or a loved one was killed in an accident caused by a distracted motorist. Our lawyers have significant expertise assisting automobile accident injury clients in obtaining the financial stability they want to deal with medical bills and go on with their lives.

Contact Dakota Low today for a free case review and consultation at 405.601.8899 or use our contact form. We have offices in Oklahoma City and El Reno that service clients all around the state.

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