Oklahoma motorists may soon be ticketed for texting and driving

Oklahoma recently signed a bill into law making it illegal for motorists to text and drive; however, there are other dangerous driver distractions.

It isn't uncommon to see an Oklahoma motorist talking on a cellphone or texting while driving. According to the Pew Internet Research Project, 64 percent of American adults own smartphones and are able to text, talk, post to social media, check email and even take pictures while they are behind the wheel. Although drivers may feel as though they are able to safely talk on a cellphone or text while driving through traffic, research shows that drivers who engage in these activities are at a higher risk of causing a serious car accident .

Cellphones can be deadly

Distraction.gov reported that 3,154 people lost their lives in distracted driving auto accidents in 2013. That same year, approximately 424,000 people were injured in similar car collisions. Many states have reacted to these high statistics by making it illegal for drivers to text and/or talk on hand-held cellphones.

Until recently, Oklahoma only prohibited drivers with an intermediate license or learner's permit from taking part in these activities. All other motorists in the state were able to legally talk and text on hand-held cellphones, despite the inherent dangers of doing so. The governor of Oklahoma, however, approved a bill making texting and driving a primary offense in the state, according to KFOR News. This means that when the new law takes effect in November 2015, state law enforcement officers will be able to pull over and ticket anyone they see texting and driving.

Types of driver distractions

Although texting, taking selfies and talking on hand-held cellphones are some of the most dangerous driver distractions, they are not the only activities motorists should avoid while driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three main types of driver distractions . These include:

· Visual distractions: A task that requires a driver to take his or her eyes off of the road, such as dialing a phone number, adjusting the radio station or composing a text.

· Manual distractions: A task that involves a driver removing his or her hands from the steering wheel, like reaching for an object, searching through the glove box, eating or programming a navigational device.

· Cognitive distractions: An activity that diverts a driver's attention and concentration off of driving and on to something else, such as a conversation.

Many people believe that they can safely engage in multiple tasks while driving. However, studies evaluated by the National Safety Council showed that the human brain is unable to effectively complete two complex tasks at the same time. Rather than focus on multiple tasks, the brain skips back and forth between tasks. This leaves moments in time where drivers are not focused on what is going on in their driving environment and they are less likely to respond to dangerous hazards.

Exploring legal options

Distracted driving car accidents can cause serious injuries, including spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones and even paralysis. You may be entitled to receive compensation for any injuries stemming from another person's negligent actions. If you would like to explore your legal options, you may want to contact a personal injury attorney in Oklahoma.

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