April 1, 2019 – With 74% of Oklahoma drivers expressing support for a law banning all hand-held cellphone use while driving, AAA is urging passage of SB17 as a significant step toward reducing distracted driving risks. The bill recently passed by the Senate makes it unlawful to use any hand-held communication device for any purpose in a moving vehicle while in a school zone unless used hands-free. Passed by the Senate, SB17 is expected to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee.
AAA’s poll of 602 Oklahoma drivers earlier this month indicated overwhelming support for a law to completely ban the use of hand-held cellphone use while driving - not just in school zones.
“The will of the people is for our lawmakers to put an end to the dangers of distracted driving,” said Leslie Gamble, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Oklahoma. “Voting to protect our school zones should be obvious, but if there’s any question, voters have spoken through this poll.”
Distracted driving tops drivers’ lists of growing dangers on the road, according to the same poll, 77 percent of Oklahoma drivers strongly agree that the dangers of using a smartphone for texting, emailing, and social media can be as serious as drinking and driving.
According to crash facts provided by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, 8,645 crashes involved a distracted driver in 2017. In that same year, 243 people were seriously injured and 35 tragically lost their lives as a result of distracted driving.
“Distracted driving is a growing epidemic that must be stopped,” urged Gamble. “Citizens are encouraged to contact their state representatives to let them know SB17 is a step in the right direction and that they support expansion of this law to save lives on Oklahoma roadways.”