Texting and driving law enacted

Photo by Vicky Smith

Vicky Smith
Managing Editor

Texting and driving is now illegal in the city of Lawton. The state law banning texting and driving took effect on Nov. 1.
Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill into law in May, and the Lawton City Council voted to comply with the decision in August.
Violators of the law can be fined up to $100.
Subsection A of the law states, “A person shall not operate a motor vehicle on a street or highway while using a hand-held mobile telephone to write, send or read a text message while the motor vehicle is in motion.”
While their vehicles are in motion, students are no longer permitted to read tweets on Twitter, Snapchat their friends or check Facebook notifications.
However, they may use technology that does not require the use of their hands, such as personal navigation devices and hands-free car kits.
Students must still be cautious as they use such hands-free technology.
According to the Official U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving, distracted driving “is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.”
Some of the distractions listed online include the following: texting, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, using a navigation system and adjusting a radio.
The website states that texting is “by far the most alarming distraction” because it “requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver.
“Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI).”
Cameron Police Lieutenant Charles Whitis said people need to be aware that texting while driving is a real distraction.
“As an experiment,” Whitis said, “what you might do is sit down and do a text. Say it takes you 15 to 20 seconds to do the text. [Then,] go out to drive down the road, and see how far you go in 15 to 20 seconds.”
According to Whitis, people need understand the possible consequences of texting and driving.
Whitis said he believes the ban on texting and driving has been needed for a long time.
“As technology grows,” he said, “we have to adjust our laws to that technology.”
Sophomore criminal justice major Jermaine Ford said death is the danger of texting and driving, but students can use apps to reduce the temptation to text and drive.
“It’s 2015,” Ford said. “We have computers in our hands where we can download apps that respond to text messages for us while we drive; utilize them. You have the tools for it. Save a life. Save your own life.”
Ford said interaction with social media while driving can be even worse than texting and driving.
“When you’re driving,” he said, “your focus is the vehicle and the safety of others around you on the road and in your car.
“It’s not to text. It’s not to Snapchat. It’s not to Facebook. It’s not to Instagram or any of that other stuff. You’re supposed to pay attention.”
Ford said he does not text and drive; instead, he pulls into a parking lot to text.
“All of my friends know that,” he said. “They know I won’t respond when I’m driving … Texting and driving can wait.”


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