If you live in Oklahoma, understanding the state’s distracted driving laws is essential. These laws are in place to keep drivers safe on the road. If a driver fails to abide by these laws and causes an accident, they may face criminal charges.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about Oklahoma distracted driver laws. Then contact our team at Bryan Garrett PLLC to discuss your options following a distracted driving accident.
What Is Distracted Driving Laws in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma law prohibits distracted driving. Specifically, the law states that drivers must devote their complete attention to driving while operating their vehicles.
However, this law also states that law enforcement officers cannot issue citations for distracted driving unless:
- The distracted driving causes an accident
- The officer observes you driving erratically
In other words, an officer cannot pull you over just for distracted driving — they must have another reason to cite you.
Distracted driving can encompass a wide range of activities. However, this law primarily points to activities on your mobile device. You cannot operate your cell phone or smartphone while driving a car or another vehicle.
Oklahoma Texting and Driving Laws
In 2015, Oklahoma passed a law prohibiting texting while driving, making it the 46th state to prohibit this activity.
Under Oklahoma law, you cannot read, write, or send text messages while your vehicle is in motion. While the law is unclear about whether you can text while at a stop light or in stopped traffic, we recommend keeping your phone on “Do Not Disturb” while operating your vehicle. You should also avoid changing GPS directions or song choices while driving.
Distracted Driving Laws for Young Drivers
Oklahoma has even stricter distracted driving laws for drivers under 18. These laws prohibit young drivers from using their cell phones at all while driving. While adult drivers can use hands-free cell phone features on the road, underaged drivers cannot.
Penalties for Distracted Driving
If an officer cites you with distracted driving, you may face a $100 fine.
If a teenager violates the distracted driving law, they risk having their license taken away.
If a commercial or public transportation driver violates this law, they may face a $500 fine.
Exceptions to Distracted Driving Laws
Oklahoma distracted driver laws have a few exceptions. Under Oklahoma law, drivers are allowed to:
- Operate devices integrated into their vehicles
- Send text messages using hands-free voice-to-text features on their smartphones
- Operate GPS navigation systems through voice commands
- Operate ignition interlock devices
The law also provides exemptions in emergency situations. For example, teen and adult drivers can use their phones to call emergency services while driving.
What to Do If You Are a Victim of a Distracted Driving Accident
Distracted driving laws often leads to accidents. When drivers look away from the road for even five seconds to send a text message, they can cross over a football field’s length of roadway. If a vehicle or object enters their path during that time, they may not be able to avoid it.
If you have been involved in an accident where the at-fault driver was texting while driving, you should tell the police officer at the scene of your suspicions. Unfortunately, without proof that the driver was violating Oklahoma distracted driver laws, they may not be able to cite them.
However, the police officer may look at their cell phone history to determine whether they sent a text message or operated their smartphone before the crash.
Our personal injury attorney team can help you navigate your accident case and seek compensation from the at-fault driver. Contact our team at Bryan Garrett PLLC today at 405-369-4498 to schedule a free initial consultation.