While distracted driving is no new development, it has changed dramatically in recent years. Due in large part to rapid innovations in cell phone and handheld electronic technology, Americans are now constantly plugged in and engaged in “another world.” Cell phone use and text messaging in particular have redefined the ways in which we communicate, share information, and live our daily lives. Although these improvements are impressive and beneficial in many ways, they are not without their drawbacks. Specifically, constant cell phone use and text messaging have come at a hefty price – especially when one begins to reflect on the profound dangers they create on public roads and highways.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – a federal government agency designed to protect public safety on our roadways – distracted driving has reached such alarming levels that it is now referred to as a national epidemic. This epidemic, unfortunately, has led to a marked increase in traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
According to statistics compiled and published by the NHTSA, distracted driving was responsible for 3,331 reported deaths and more than 387,000 reported injuries in 2011 alone. While these rates are alarming, they become even more concerning when one realizes that they are entirely preventable. Any driver who makes the decision to engage in activities other than the primary task of driving commits an act of serious negligence and carelessness that places others at an increased risk of suffering harm. In some – but unfortunately not all – cases involving cell phone use and text messaging, these acts may also be prohibited by law.
NO STATEWIDE TEXTING BAN IN OKLAHOMA
It is well known that using a cell phone or handheld device on the road is extremely dangerous. In fact, researchers from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) have found that texting behind the wheel creates a crash risk as high as 23 times worse than driving without distraction. This is because texting commands the visual, cognitive, and manual attention of a driver simultaneously. Some studies state that this also makes texting six times more dangerous than drinking and driving. As a result of these types of studies and the numerous crash reports that highlight driver distraction as the underlying cause, 41 U.S. states, the District of Columbia (Washington, DC), and Guam ban text messaging for all drivers. Unfortunately, Oklahoma remains one of the few states without a statewide texting ban.
But this is not for lack of trying. As recently as April, Oklahoma legislators voted once again to defeat a proposed ban on texting while driving. Although no current statewide ban exists, Oklahoma does enforce certain laws against texting and cell phone use in certain situations. These laws include:
Ban on cell phone use and text messaging for motorists with a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
Ban on cell phone use and text message for bus drivers.
Many residents, law enforcement officers, and policymakers in Oklahoma argue that while these bans are a step in the right direction, they are simply not enough. As such, several legislators and organizations have vowed to continue their efforts to have a texting ban passed in the state.
INJURED BY A DISTRACTED DRIVER IN OKLAHOMA?
If you, a loved one, or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident caused by a distracted driver, you have every right to pursue legal action to hold them accountable for their actions. Texting while driving may not be explicitly prohibited for all drivers in Oklahoma, but it is still an act of incredible negligence and carelessness. By highlighting this fact, and by securing evidence that proves a driver was distracted at the time of an accident, victims and their families can have a fighting chance for obtaining the compensation they need and rightfully deserve.
By filing a personal injury claim with the assistance of our Oklahoma car accident attorneys, you can receive the support and seasoned representation you need to fight for the best possible outcome and the maximum compensation recovery. Allow a legal team equipped with more than 100 years of combined experience to fight on your behalf. Contact an Oklahoma personal injury attorney from AMA Law to learn more about the ways in which we can help.