As a physician, Dr. Ervin Yen has seen first-hand the deadly consequences of texting while driving. As a new member of the Legislature, Sen. Yen has filed legislation to try and stop it. Yen, R-Oklahoma City, has authored Senate Bill 304 which would make it a misdemeanor crime with a fine of at least $100 to text while driving a vehicle.
A cardiac anesthesiologist, Yen said what he’s seen in the operating room has convinced him that Oklahoma legislators need to act, just as 44 other states have already done.
“I’ve been on the medical team for many heart transplants in my career, but now I’m seeing something that didn’t exist just a few years ago—heart donors who lost their own lives because of texting behind the wheel,” Yen said. “To me this is just a no brainer. As a doctor, as a father and as a legislator, I am convinced this is the year Oklahoma finally needs to pass a texting while driving ban.”
Yen’s legislation would allow exceptions in emergencies, including contacting police, firefighters, an ambulance, doctor’s office, hospital or clinic.
“I know there are some who’ve opposed such a ban in the past because they felt like it was over-reach or simply not needed. But when someone sends or reads a text while they’re driving, they’re not just putting their own life at risk—they’re jeopardizing their passengers and everyone else on the road with them,” Yen said. “I have seen with my own eyes that our current laws are not enough. I hope my fellow legislators will join me in making Oklahoma’s streets and highways safer for everyone before another life is lost.”