The Senate Public Safety Committee passed legislation Thursday barring cell phone use in Oklahoma school zones.
Senate Bill 1601 makes it illegal for anyone operating a motor vehicle to use a wireless communications device in a school zone. The bill does not apply to cars that are stopped, drivers who are using hands free devices or specifically-listed emergency calls.
“Our state has a distracted driving law, but few drivers know about it and the consequences can be deadly,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, author of the bill. “As technology continues to advance, there are numerous ways drivers can continue to use mobile devices while driving that are safe and keep their eyes on the road. Our children’s safety has to be our utmost concern.”
Drivers who violate the provisions of this law shall face fines up to $250 per offense. However, if the violation results in an accident, the fine may be raised to not more than $500.
“If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s working to keep Oklahoma’s children safe,” said Senate Minority Leader Sean Burrage, who carried the bill in committee. “The goal of this bill is to protect our kids from distracted drivers in what is clearly meant to be a zone of safety around our schools.”
This bipartisan effort is based on similar laws in Arkansas and Texas.
The bill passed the Senate committee unanimously and will now move to the full Senate for further consideration.