Although legislation filed by Oklahoma House of Representatives Democratic Leader Danny Morgan to address the dangers of cell phone use and texting while driving has stalled the past two legislative sessions, Rep. Morgan remains undeterred in his attempts to emphasize the risks of distracted driving.
“Erratic driving due to cell phone use is only getting worse as drivers continue to overestimate their own ability to juggle phone use while behind the wheel,” said Rep. Morgan, D-Prague.
In 2008 Morgan introduced legislation which would prohibit persons under the age of 18 from driving while using a cell phone, except in emergency situations. As this bill failed to receive a committee hearing, Morgan reintroduced this legislation this past session, and included language which would make using a communication device while driving a primary offense. This bill was superseded in support of a bill authored by Rep. Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa, that would extend the ban of cell phones for all drivers while operating a vehicle, unless it is a cell phone equipped with a hands-free device.
“I was very happy for the bipartisan support on this issue,” said Rep. Morgan, “and was optimistic that legislators would now look not only at the research but the growing number of reports of loss of life or limb due to text use or cell use while driving, but unfortunately there remained opposition. I am disappointed that this issue has not yet received a hearing on the House floor.”
Reps. Morgan and Tibbs have jointly requested an interim study on cell phone use and texting while driving, which was approved by the Speaker of the House and assigned to the Public Safety Committee, of which Rep. Tibbs serves as chairwoman.
Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives
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