Oklahoma Lawmaker Targets Cell Phone-Related Accidents
Four states ban drivers from making cell phone calls whilst underway (California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York). Sixteen states ban beginning drivers from phoning from cars. In May 1999, the Oklahoma legislature rejected a bill mandating a blanket ban. The Journal Record reports state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft is shifting focus, proposing a mandatory fine of $1,000 and 20 days in jail for using a cell phone if it's determined to be a factor in an accident. Previously, Wesselhoft tried (and failed) to get OK to restrict drivers to hands-free devices. "I would much rather be on the preventative side of the issue. Unfortunately, we [now] have to punish them." Wesselhoft cited a NHTSA study revealing that drivers looked at the road less than 40 percent of the time while dialing a cell phone. He also pointed to statistics from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office citing cell phones as a contributing factor in 802 accidents in 2006. Why can't we all just hang up and drive?
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