Many people think distracted driving means texting while driving, but the law includes so much more.
Oklahoma became the 45th state to ban texting and driving in 2015. This ban includes many other actions a driver can take while behind the wheel that involve a smartphone. However, the law also includes other types of behavior that do not necessarily involve an electronic device. It is important that all drivers understand what distracted driving means in Oklahoma. If you are in an accident while you are distracted, you could be found negligent and held liable for paying compensation to any injured parties.
Distracted Driving in Oklahoma City
Many people first think of texting and driving when they hear the term ‘distracted driving,’ but there are many other distractions that are illegal in Oklahoma City. These include:
- Checking email, browsing social media, and searching the Internet while driving
- Using a handheld device to text or talk when the driver has only their learner’s permit or intermediate license
Although these actions are the first a person may imagine when thinking of distracted driving, there are many others. Specifically, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) states that any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from driving safely is considered distracted driving. This can include texting and talking on the phone, talking to passengers, eating, drinking, and adjusting the radio dials.
Exceptions to Distracted Driving Laws in Oklahoma
Although Oklahoma City, and the rest of the state, takes distracted driving very seriously, there are some exceptions. These include:
- Using a device that is physically or electronically built into the vehicle
- GPS and navigation systems that are built into the vehicle and are voice-activated
- Texting while using hands-free technology, such as voice-to-text
- Ignition interlock devices
Also, adult and teen drivers alike can use a handheld device to text or talk when they are contacting an emergency response operator, a healthcare facility, an ambulance service, firefighter service, or law enforcement agency. It is important that people are aware of these exceptions, as well, so they can report drivers they suspect are intoxicated, or an accident or other dangerous condition on the road.
When people use their phone for any other reason, or are found to be otherwise distracted, they can incur a fine of $100. Distracted drivers that cause an accident can also be held liable for paying damages to any person that is injured as a result of the crash.
Hurt by a Distracted Driver? Our Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you have been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, it is important to understand that you can claim compensation to help with the cost of your injuries and other losses. At the Law Firm of Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker, our Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers can help with your claim. We know how to investigate and collect evidence to prove your claim so you can recover the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today at (405) 886-9660 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.