If the $100 fine you could get for texting and driving in Oklahoma doesn’t scare you, perhaps the statistics surrounding distracted driving will.
Forty-eight states have enacted laws that ban texting while driving, and for good reason. Oklahoma was the 46th state to enact such a ban. Missouri and Montana are the only two states without such laws, but in Missouri, it’s illegal for “novice or teen” drivers to text while driving.
Here’s a breakdown of the scary statistics on distracted driving from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- Distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives in 2017 alone.
- Roughly nine people are killed every day because of distracted driving.
- Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. If you’re traveling 55 mph, that’s the equivalent of driving blind for the entire length of a football field.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers younger than 20 are at the highest risk of dying in a distracted driving-related crash.
- The CDC says 42 percent of teens reported texting while driving in 2017.
- Teens who text and drive are also more likely to drink and drive.
- You are 23 times more likely to get in a crash if you are texting while driving.
Oklahoma had the ninth highest rate of deaths from car crashes in 2016, according to Safewise.
The texting while driving ban that the Oklahoma Legislature passed in 2015 was named in honor of Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers Nicholas Dees and Keith Burch, who were struck by a driver who was texting in January 2015. Dees was killed in the accident and Burch suffered serious injuries.
Education and technology are key
When it comes to stopping the texting and driving epidemic, experts say education and technology can help. There are several apps that block texting while driving, including:
- Cellcontrol — this allows parents to install a device under the vehicle’s dashboard, coupled with an app on their teen’s phone, that blocks a teen from sending or receiving messages while the car is on.
- Live2Text — does the same thing as Cellcontrol
- DriveMode — will convert incoming text messages to audio so you’re not tempted to look at your phone.
How can you help?
- Make a commitment to yourself that you won’t text while driving.
- Turn off your phone before starting your car.
- Place your phone out of reach so you won’t be tempted to grab it while driving.
- Lead by example, and encourage your friends and family to make the same commitment you have.
For more information about laws in Oklahoma, contact Jacqui Ford’s office today.