Cell phone laws, legislation – distracted driving

 Cell phone laws, legislation – distracted driving

Last updated: February 6, 2020 Cell phone, text messaging news: State Sen. Ron Sharp has filed a handheld cell phone bill for the 2020 session. “We have to do something right now to protect property and protect our lives,” Sharp said, citing the ineffectiveness of the state’s texting & driving law. Sharp says it’s an uphill climb, with lawmakers focused on “individual rights.”

State Sen. J.J. Dossett saw his Bobbi White Act of 2019 approved by the Senate but die in the House. The legislation honored a teacher killed several years ago in a crash linked to distracted driving. It would outlaw the use of handheld cell phones in school zones during school hours. Dossett says electronic distracted driving is “just the same as shutting your eyes while driving.”

Cell phone, texting legislation (2020): Senate Bill 1088: Would change texting & driving ban to a prohibition of using handheld communications devices. Fine: Up to $100. Effective Nov. 1. (Sharp)

2019 cell phone, texting legislation: Senate Bill 17: Seeks to bar drivers from using handheld communications devices in active school zones. Approved by the Public Safety committee Feb. 18. Approved by the Senate in a 38-8 vote of March 8. Approved by the House Public Safety Committee in a 6-2 vote of April 4. Died in House. See SB 132 of 2017, below. (Dossett)

2019 distracted driving notes: State Sen. J.J. Dossett says of his Bobbi White Act: “I strongly urge every driver on the road to remember this life cut short, and the many other Oklahomans who have died or suffered terrible injuries because of distracted driving.” White, a popular teacher at Owasso Mid-High School, was killed three years ago when a driver who failed to see stopped vehicles rear-ended her family’s vehicle.

2017 cell phone, texting legislation: Senate Bill 44: Would bar use of handheld communications devices by drivers. Effective date Nov. 1. Dead. (Sharp)

SB 132: Would require hands-free use of personal electronic devices while driving. Fine: Up to $100. For crashes in a school zone or construction zone, fine of up to $5,000 if injury results and $10,000 if death results. Aka Bobbi White Act. Approved by the Public Safety Committee on March 2. Rejected by the Senate in a 19-20 vote of March 23 (on reconsideration vote). (Dossett)

2017 distracted driving notes: State Sen. Ron Sharp came into the 2017 legislative session with a plan to expand Oklahoma’s texting & driving ban to include handheld devices such as smartphones. The bill went nowhere, however. “Drivers are still getting distracted by their phones and other electronic devices, and there’s no reason to be using them while driving except in emergencies,” Sharp said. Sen. J.J. Dossett had a similar plan in memory of a teacher killed in a crash linked to distracted driving. It was rejected, narrowly, by the Senate.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the average number of citations for electronic distracted driving is down so far in 2017. Patrol officers are handing out about 35 tickets per month, compared with 53 per month in 2016. Officials credited an increased awareness of the distracted driving issue for the decrease.

Muskogee lawmakers sought to hike fines for drivers who text behind the wheel, but had to settle for tougher penalties for commercial and public-transit drivers (now $400). Oklahoma law limits most fines to the maximum set by the state.

State Sen. J.J. Dossett’s SB 132 (above) was created in memory of teacher Bobbi White, who was killed in a construction zone in a May 2016 crash linked to distracted driving. Its provisions include a possible $10,000 fine for causing a death while driving distracted in a school or work zone.

2016 distracted driving notes: Oklahoma’s texting & driving law appears to be getting results. At the first anniversary of its enactment, state numbers show reductions across the board in distraction-related crashes, injuries and fatalities. The law went into effect Nov. 1, 2015, with $100 fines for distracted drivers. The ban requires primary enforcement, meaning police can stop and cite offenders for that reason alone. Oklahoma was one of the few remaining states without a ban on text messaging by all drivers.

AAA Oklahoma is celebrating the first anniversary of the comprehensive state texting law and its apparent success: “Oklahomans are thinking twice before picking up their cell phone while driving,” spokesman Chuck Mai said. “Lives are being saved, injuries are being prevented and families are being saved the anguish of traffic collisions.”

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers handed out 648 texting & driving tickets in the law’s first 10 months. Tulsa police issued only 75.

Cities across the state lined up to adopt mirror texting & driving ordinances so that offenders can be handled by local courts.

2015 cell phone, texting legislation: House Bill 1965:Would bar texting for all drivers in Oklahoma. Includes email and instant messaging. Fines:

$100 (first offense), then $500. (Fine amended to $100 in Senate.) Primary enforcement after Senate amendment of April 6. Approved by the Criminal Justice Committee on Feb. 11. Approved by the full House in a 96-2 vote of Feb. 24. Amended and approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee as a committee substitute on March 26. Amended and approved by the full Senate in a 38-6 vote of April 8. Approved by the House as revised in an 85-7 vote of April 29. by the governor May 5. Takes effect Nov. 1, 2015. (O’Donnell in House with Sharp in Senate)

Senate Bill 821: Would outlaw texting & driving using handheld devices. Fine: $100. Secondary enforcement. Bars stronger laws at local level. Note: The committee is now listed as bill’s author. Unanimous approval by the Senate Public Safety Committee on Feb. 19. Approved by the full Senate in a 42-3 vote of March 11. To the House. (Barrington/Public Safety)

SB 43: Would outlaw texting and other forms of electronic communication while driving. Also cites photographs. Fine: $20. No points. Would bar any local ordinance with tougher penalties. aka “No Texting While Driving Act.” Effective Nov. 15. (Anderson)

SB 67: To existing law requiring “full time and attention” to driving, seeks to add ban on talking or texting on a handheld electronic device. (Sharp)

SB 304: Would prohibit texting while driving in Oklahoma. Minimum fine of $100. (Yen)

2015 distracted driving notes: The texting & driving measure House Bill 1965 was tagged “the Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act of 2015.” Dees died in late January in a roadway incident officials linked to a distracted driver; Burch was seriously injured. The designation was added in the Senate. The troopers’ families attended the texting & driving law signing.

The man who hit and killed Trooper Nicholas Dees was sentenced to five years in prison on Dec. 17. Steven Wayne Clark was updating a social media page when he ran into a crash scene in January 2015, investigators said. Clark also injured Trooper Keith Burch. The successful texting & driving bill was named “the Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act of 2015.”

State Rep. Terry O’Donnell’s original plan was limited to secondary enforcement, but the House accepted the Senate’s upgrade in enforcement. The final House vote came April 29, accompanied by a round of applause. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the distracted driving measure into law May 5.

Tulsa, Claremore, Enid and Ada are among the swarm of Oklahoma cities that adopted local texting & driving laws in order to get their share of revenues from the state distracted driving law that goes into effect Nov. 1.

In the first month, state troopers wrote just under 100 tickets for texting and another 200 for distracted-driving-related violations.

“I’m optimistic that with my efforts to change some minds on the issue — along with the new legislators coming into this session — I can finally get legislation passed,” State Rep. Terry O’Donnell told Hands Free Info early in the session.

Tulsa amended its texting & driving ordinance to lower fines to $75 for those who plead no contest to violations. The City Council voted for the change Nov. 5. The regular fine is $100, same as the state’s penalty.

Edmond enacted a local texting & driving ban at the end of September. It becomes effective Nov. 1, the same day as the new state texting law.

Norman adopted a local law that essentially duplicates the state ban on texting & driving. The mayor said the ordinance, adopted Sept. 22, makes an “important statement” about distracted driving. It also allows offenders to pay tickets in municipal courts.

Oklahoma City is nearing final approval of a texting & driving ordinance that mirrors the new state law. The local law allows the city to take most of the revenues via Municipal Court. A final vote was expected Sept. 1. The local law “sends a huge message to the population” about the dangers of texting & driving, Oklahoma City’s police chief says.

The city of Tulsa has banned all cell phone use by employees who are driving on the job. The rule went into effect May 1.

Deborah Hersman, head of the National Safety Council, said upon the texting act’s enactment: “Congratulations to both lawmakers and employers in Oklahoma for their leadership in making roads in the Sooner State safer.” Hersman called on the state to ban all cell phone use by drivers.

Texting bill HB 1965 — the amended House legislation approved by the Senate on April 8 — was effectively the Senate’s own bill. O’Donnell’s 2015 plan to ban texting & driving was approved by the House in a Feb. 24 vote that was nearly unanimous. The Senate’s Public Safety Committee then amended and unanimously approved the plan in late March, via a committee substitute. The full Senate OK’d the plan after narrowly agreeing to the primary enforcement amendment. The Senate also voted for its own SB 821 in mid-March.

State Sen. Ron Sharp is guided that bill in the Senate. It has been subtitled to honor troopers killed and injured in a reported distracted driving incident early this year.

Senate Bill 821 was the first texting legislation to ever clear the Oklahoma Senate. House Bill 1965 then repeated the feat.

The House Rules Committee has Senate Bill 821 on hold, pending clarification of new policy on “committee bills” without authors. Chairman Rep. Tommy Hardin told the Tulsa World that the distracted driving bill was “a curve ball.”

The texting & driving legislation HB 1965 encountered token personal-freedoms resistance during debate in the Criminal Justice Committee, but passed anyway. “It’s a little bit of an overreach of Big Brother,” state Rep. Mike Ritze told the panel Feb. 11. The bill is “watered down and weak” because of secondary enforcement, Rep. Scott Inman charged.

State Sen. Patrick Anderson has SB 43 in the hopper for 2015 with the tag the No Texting While Driving Act. The legislation comes with only a $20 fine and no points. Anderson says the point is to get something on the record that texting & driving don’t mix in Oklahoma: “We’re one of the few states that hasn’t addressed texting while driving and it’s important that we do something about it,” he told the hometown Enid News.

State Sen. Ron Sharp is back with distracted driving legislation for 2015. He calls the activity “just as deadly as drunk driving,” and seeks to add a ban on talking or texting on a handheld electronic device to the state’s general law requiring full-time attention while driving. Fines could be as high as $1,000 with possible of jail time. A 2014 texting & driving ban from Sharp (with Rep. Jeannie McDaniel as House sponsor) stalled and died.

A spokeswoman for Sharp said they had “no idea” if his 2015 plan to combat distracted driving (SB 67) would succeed. Last session, a frustrated Sharp saw his texting ban fail. He pointed to families who were “burying their loved ones because someone couldn’t wait until they got home to send that last text.”

AAA Oklahoma is trying to rally members in support of a texting & driving law: “Don’t let legislators tell you a texting ban can’t be enforced,” President Neal Krueger wrote in the January/February issue of the organization’s magazine. “Yes, there will be challenges, just as there are in enforcing our seat belt and DUI laws. But law enforcement officers, from state troopers to city cops, tell us: ‘Pass a law, we’ll enforce it.'”

State Sen. Susan Paddack said just before the legislative session opened that she “had not reached a decision” as to whether she would try her texting & driving bill again in 2015.

2014 cell phone, texting legislation: Senate Bill 442: Would prohibit text messaging while driving in Oklahoma. Fine up to $500. Approved by the Public Safety Committee in a 6-1 vote of Feb. 20. Rereferred to Public Safety and dead as of March 12. (Sharp in Senate/McDaniel, J. in House)

SB 1601: Would prohibit use of handheld wireless communications devices while driving in a school zone. Fine $250; up to $500 if accident results. Approved by the Public Safety Committee in a 7-0 vote of Feb. 20. Approved unanimously by the Senate on March 13. Died in the House. (Bingman, McNiel)

SB 1189: Would outlaw text messaging while driving. Fine: minimum $100. Appears to permit use of hands-free texting systems. Never advanced. (Paddack)

House Bill 2540 Seeks to prohibit typing into a wireless communications device — “manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters.” Fine: $500. Secondary enforcement. Approved by the Public Safety Committee in an 8-4 vote of Feb. 26. Amended to add $1,000 fine for serial offenders March 6. “Laid over.” (O’Donnell)

HB 1097: Would ban texting while driving. Fine up to $500. Never advanced. (Shoemake)

2014 distracted driving notes: A state law requires drivers to give full attention to the road, but citations are possible if an accident results or the inattention results in reckless driving.

The Oklahoman newspaper editorialized Dec. 2: “For years, Republican leadership at the Legislature has quashed efforts to ban texting at the wheel — despite the fact that there’s no organized opposition to the idea. … Lawmakers should act in 2015 to outlaw the practice and get the state off the list of stragglers that have yet to do so.”

After no distracted driving legislation succeeded in 2014, AAA of Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai told the Tulsa World: “It’s remarkable that a few key legislators could thwart the will of other legislators and the will of the people.”

A plan to prohibit cell phone use while driving through Oklahoma school zones made it through the Senate in 2014 before dying in the House. Fine of $250; more if an accident results. Observers hoped it could be amended into a full ban on texting, which was the last hope for such a law in Oklahoma this session.

In the House, a plan to outlaw typing while operating a moving vehicle went before the full House. It’s from Rep. Terry O’Donnell. “We’re not going to be pulling drivers over on suspicion of texting,” O’Donnell said of its secondary enforcement limitation. It was approved in committee Feb. 26 but then “laid over.” “We know we will save lives with this measure,” O’Donnell said — but he waylaid his own bill because there was “no sense wasting time if it isn’t popular (with lawmakers)”

State Sen. Susan Paddack filed legislation for 2014 that would outlaw texting by all drivers in Oklahoma. The fine would be at least $100. “It is a huge public safety issue,” Paddack says. “Every day that I am on the road, I see drivers who are texting and not paying attention to their driving.”

State Rep. Mike Ritze said the 2014 texting & driving legislation resembles a product of “a Nazi state,” the AP reported in February.

State Sen. Ron Sharp also says the legislative leadership just doesn’t doesn’t want to hear about texting bills: “The public doesn’t realize how many (of us) are pushing it but we just can’t seem to get it heard (in committee).”

Republican Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon stepped down in preparation for a Senate race, possibly opening the door for an electronic distracted driving law.

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office says cell phone-related crashes numbered 1,712 in 2013, with about a third resulting in injury.

2013 cell phone, texting legislation: House Bill 1503: Would outlaw text messaging while driving in Oklahoma. Fine: $500 (including costs). OK’d by the Transportation Committee in a 12-2 vote Feb. 5. Latest legislative action: Tabled by the Calendar Committee on Feb. 28. (McDaniel, Curtis; Senate: Ellis)

HB 1097: Same as HB 1503, above. (Shoemake)

Senate Bill 400: Would outlaw texting and driving. Fine: At least $100. (Paddack)

2013 distracted driving notes : State Rep. Curtis McDaniel and his allies’ bids to ban texting & driving in Oklahoma were thwarted multiple times in 2013. McDaniel’s 2013 bill to prohibit texting & driving advanced in the House, but was then derailed by the Republican-controlled Calendar Committee. The measure, House Bill 1503, sought a maximum penalty of $500. McDaniel says “90 percent” of the public support a texting ban.

McDaniel also tried to ban texting via an earlier amendment. He told the AP that resistance to his efforts to enact distracted driving sanctions was “aggravating.” “It’s going to take a major catastrophe in the lives of those people (Republicans) holding it up for something to happen,” McDaniel said.

State Rep. Cory Williams says Oklahoma’s driver inattention law “is reactive not proactive. I personally want the law to keep up with the pace of technology.”

House Minority Leader Scott Inman said Democrats “tried to make it safer for people on the road” with multiple attempts to pass distracting driving laws. “We tried, and the majority defeated us every time,” Inman, D-Del City, told the Oklahoman on April 24. “That’s how the process works.”

State Rep. Curtis McDaniel cited bipartisan support for his HB 1503 in the Legislature, but it was stalled by the House calendar committee, controlled by Republicans. McDaniel says lawmakers are increasingly in favor of a ban, echoing comments by former state Rep. Danny Morgan, an advocate for distracted driving laws who left the House after last term.

“Many drivers dislike new restrictions, but changes in technology have created a texting culture which has decreased road safety,” McDaniel said in January 2013. “We have to address it.”

Dave Koeneke, executive director of Oklahoma Safety Council, said the fight will go on until a texting & driving ban is enacted in Oklahoma. “We’ll pursue it every year if it doesn’t make it,” he told the Oklahoman in mid-March.

2012 cell phone, texting legislation (dead): Senate Bill 182: Would bar drivers under the age of 18 with learners’ permits and restricted licenses from using handheld electronic devices. Hands-free OK. Defeated in the Senate in a 22-20 vote taken March 14 (25 needed to pass). (Crain)

House Bill 2898: Would prohibit state of Oklahoma employees from text messaging while driving state-owned vehicles and/or while driving a private vehicle on state business. Includes elected officials. (Morgan)

2012 distracted driving notes: Twenty-nine people were killed in Oklahoma in 2012 due to distracted driving.

A Senate plan to ban handheld electronic device use by teen drivers with restricted licenses fell three votes short of approval in 2012.

Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, says his SB 182 was filed in part due to a request from the state Department of Health. it cleared the the Senate Public Safety Committee but couldn’t muster the 25 ayes needed for passage in the full Senate. Bill foe Sen. Steve Russell said parents should make the decisions about what their children do.

AAA correctly predicted that texting & driving legislation would fail in 2011 due to “a handful of lawmakers (who) were able to thwart legislation that 87 percent of AAA members say they want.”

Oklahoma’s inattentive driving law went into effect Nov. 1, 2010. Does not specify use of handheld cell phones or text messaging devices, but allows for penalties if their use causes an accident or leads to reckless/careless driving.

2011 distracted driving notes: AAA correctly predicted that texting & driving legislation would fail in 2011 due to “a handful of lawmakers (who) were able to thwart legislation that 87 percent of AAA members say they want.”

Oklahoma’s inattentive driving law went into effect Nov. 1, 2010. Does not specify use of handheld cell phones or text messaging devices, but allows for penalties if their use causes an accident or leads to reckless/careless driving.

Tulsa has given its police authority to cite drivers for various distracted driving activities, with the focus on people texting while behind the wheel. Cell phone use is not affected unless the driver is inattentive. Fine of $150. The amendment, which took effect Dec. 3, brings the city code in line with the state’s inattentive driving law.

House Bill 1316 sponsor Rep. Danny Morgan saw his texting bill defeated on March 17 and then directed his efforts in support of SB 146, which he was shepherding in the House. He sought to add some of the language from HB 1316 to SB 146, which was approved by the Senate on March 16 and transferred to the House but left in the Judiciary Committee. Sen. Jerry Ellis, D-Valliant, created that bill.

Morgan, D-Prague, previously said he was feeling good about his legislation that would ban text messaging for all Oklahoma drivers. “There is a growing coalition of support for this legislation and I believe that we will see it pass this session,” he said at a Jan. 19 press conference detailing the distracted driving bill.

“Texting while driving is not a practice committed only by young drivers, it’s becoming a common occurrence by drivers of all ages, and needs to be nipped in the bud,” said Morgan. Supporters of Morgan’s plan include AAA Oklahoma, Farmers Insurance, the Oklahoma Safety Council, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, AT&T and SAFE KIDS Oklahoma State. Morgan’s bill also would ban use of cell phones by drivers under 18.

HB 1316 co-sponsor Rep. Paul Roan brings 30 years of law enforcement experience to the table: “You have different degrees of law and this will be a primary cause law,” said Roan, D-Tishomingo. “If a policeman sees you texting, that in itself is a violation. Now it is a secondary charge.”

2011 cell phone, texting legislation (dead): House Bill 1316: Would outlaw texting and driving. Fine: $25. Drivers under 18 also prohibited from using cell phones and other wireless communications devices. Primary enforcement. Fines: $100-$500 (first violation), $100-$1,000 (second) and $100-$2,000 (all subsequent). For all repeat violations, possible community service time. For three or more violations, possible license suspension. All drivers would be barred from using a mobile phone or other electronic communication device in school zones. Fine: up to $100. Approved by the House Public Safety Committee in a 9-7 vote on March 2. Latest action: Rejected by the House in a 47-40 vote taken March 17. (Morgan)

HB 1340: Sought to outlaw use of handheld wireless devices while driving. Fines up to $500. (Renegar)

HB 1633: Would have outlawed use of handheld electronic communications devices while driving in a school zone. (Brown)

SB 146: Would prohibit text messaging by all drivers in Oklahoma. Secondary enforcement. Fines: $175 (first offense) and then $500. Fine doubled if accident results. Approved by the Senate in a 32-9 vote on March 16 but left in House Judiciary Committee. (Ellis)

2010 legislation notes: Gov. Brad Henry banned all state employees from text messaging while operating government vehicles. At a Capitol ceremony on Jan. 19, 2010, he urged the Oklahoma Legislature to take action on distracted driving, calling texting and driving “a recipe for absolute disaster.”

With HB 3250, Rep. Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa, reintroduced her 2009 plan to ban text messaging while behind the wheel, adding use of handheld cell phones.

Rep. Randy McDaniel, R-Oklahoma City, said he plans to introduce a bill that would require schools to teach young drivers about the dangers of text messaging behind the wheel.

2010 cell phone, texting legislation: HB 2276: Requires drivers to devote their full attention to driving. Citations of drivers using cell phones or texting must follow an accident or incident of reckless driving. Fines $100 plus court costs up to $35. House passed the bill March 3 and the Senate followed a month later. Approved by governor April 14. Latest action: Took effect Nov. 1. (Duncan, Anderson)

SB 1908: Prohibits teenage drivers (with permits or graduated licenses) from using a handheld electronic device to talk or text when the car is in motion. (Originally an electronic distracted driving bill that applied to adults as well but changed in committee.) Revocation of of learner’s permits and Intermediate Class D licenses could result after violations. Final approval of bill in the House and Senate in late May. Signed into law by the governor on June 6. Latest action: Took effect Nov. 1. See update, above. (Tibbs, Morgan, Sykes)

HB 3250: Would ban the use of handheld cell phones and text messaging devices while driving in Oklahoma. Cell phone users must employ hands-free accessories. Exempts GPS and navigation devices. Penalties up to $1,000 (fine and court costs). Approved by the House Public Safety Commitee on Feb. 24. Approved by the full House on March 10. Sent to the Senate. (Tibbs, Morgan)

HB 2611: Would prohibit text messaging by all drivers. Secondary enforcement. Fine of $250 plus two points/$500 three points. (Liebmann)

HB 2857: Would outlaw text messaging and use of cell phones by drivers of public transit vehicles, including school buses. Also railway vehicles. $500 fine. (Wright)

SB 1355: Would prohibit drivers 18 years old and younger from text messaging while behind the wheel. Secondary enforcement, meaning traffic officers cannot stop violators for this reason alone. Fines of up to $100 and $250 (subsequent violations). (Paddack)

SB 1843: Would prohibit text messaging by all authors. Fines up to $175/$500 (for subsequent violations). Fines double after accidents. (Easley)

SB 1386: Would ban text messaging by all drivers. Secondary enforcement. Fines of up to $175 and $200 (for subsequent violations) (Garrison)

SB 1906: Would outlaw use of “portable electronic devices” while driving, including cell phones and text messaging devices. Fine up to $150. (Johnson)

Note: All legislation can be accessed via the Oklahoma Legislature bill tracker.

2009 legislation: HB 1782: Would have prohibited the use of cell phones by drivers unless a hands-free device was employed. OK’d in committee, sent to the House floor but never heard in the 2009 session.

HB 1526: Would outlaw text messaging while driving, but citations would not be issued unless an accident has occurred.

2009 legislation notes: Rep. Sue Tibbs said of her stalled hands-free legislation: “(HB 1782) was heard in committee. It did pass committee, then assigned to the floor. This bill did not get heard. I didn’t get an explanation why it wasn’t given a hearing.”

She says of texting while driving: “Young people just think they’re invincible. … I just don’t think people realize how dangerous that is.” The bill called for text messaging while driving fines starting at $200 and capping out at $500.

HB 1526 includes possible jail time of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. The sponsor is Rep. Guy Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City’s Metro Transit has a new policy for bus drivers: Text and be fired immediately. The first use of a cell phone brings a suspension, the second results in termination.

Previous legislation: HB 2964, from Rep. Danny Morgan (2008), would have banned cell phoning and texting by teenage drivers.

HB 2932 (2008): Would have prohibited school bus drivers from using cell phones.

SB 176 and HB 2213 (identical, 2008): Would have prohibited use of cell phones without hands-free devices.

HB 2597 (2008): Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, sponsored the “Brittanie Montgomery Act,” named for a cheerleader who died while driving and texting.

“If you’re 15 and a half years old, you’re just learning how to drive, that ought to take 100 percent of your energy and attention,” says text messaging bill sponsor Rep. Paul Wesselhoft. “A 15-year-old learning how to drive has no business being on a cell phone.”

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