Ford Passes Distracted Driving Bill in Committee

Feb 22, 2023
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, on Tuesday passed a bill in the House Public Safety Committee intended to help further curb distracted driving.

House Bill 2228 prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while the driver is holding or using a handheld cellular telephone or other electronic device when the vehicle is in motion.

Ford explained that in 2015, Oklahoma passed a ban on texting and driving after an accident involving a distracted driver resulted in the death of Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Nicholas Dees and and the severe injury of Trooper Keith Burch.

"While that ban makes it illegal to text while driving, it does nothing to provide the necessary restrictions on other distractions," Ford said. "This just further clarifies that a driver can't be holding or viewing content on a cell phone or other electronic device when they should have all of their attention focused on driving."

Ford said the measure does not prohibit the use of a hands-free device or one that plays through a car's radio. There also are exceptions for those talking to law enforcement or other specified officials for emergency communications.

HB 2228 further prohibits the confiscation of a cellular telephone to determine a violation without the consent of the person. The measure limits the fine amount to $5 and court costs and fees to not more than $95.

Ford, a former police officer, said this bill could help save lives. It is now eligible to be considered by the full House.

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