Tahlequah Daily Press


April 29, 2013

Anti-texting bill still needs look

TAHLEQUAH — A bill that would have banned texting while driving was shot down for the third and presumably final time this legislative session, and we can’t say we’re surprised.

Democratic Rep. Curtis McDaniel had introduced an amendment to a bill focusing on reckless driving penalties. It didn’t even make it to the floor for a vote, nor did another measure that would have allowed officers to pull over someone whose driving appears distracted. It would seem the legislators would prefer penalizing drivers who are texting or otherwise distracted after someone has already died on the highway – in other words, when it’s too late to matter.

McDaniel admitted his frustration to reporters, and rhetorically asked, “Why?”

The answer seems simple: Legislators were feeling pressure from the more libertarian arm of Oklahoma’s population, which considers any new regulation or law as impinging on their freedoms.

In a way, that feeling is understandable. There are far too many ridiculous laws on the books. And when laws are merely aimed at stripping away personal liberties, they make little sense in today’s environment. But when a law is designed to prevent people from engaging in dangerous activities that could harm others besides themselves, it’s clearly worth serious consideration.

Look at the statistics. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to have a vehicular accident than those who have both hands on the wheel and are paying attention to the business at hand.

Distracted driving itself kills nine people and results in injuries to more than 1,000 every day.

Some legislators felt the law would be difficult to enforce. Others objected to the notion that an officer could pull over a driver for simply appearing to be distracted while driving. But does it make more sense for the officer to wait until an accident occurs to try to determine if distraction were a factor, and then issue a citation?

Many troopers with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol have said they’d like to see such a law on the books. They know better than anyone how prevalent this hazardous behavior is, and they’ve worked the grisly accident scenes. True, some officers might go overboard, but most of them have better things to do than hassle a driver who swerves slightly, once or twice.

There’s another reason many people hesitate to support a ban on texting while driving: They’ve seen officers do it themselves.

Frankly, there’s no excuse for this, since officers should be setting examples for other citizens, on the road as well as


A complete ban on cell phone use in the car might not be workable, but a ban on texting makes more sense. Not only will it save lives, but it should go a long way toward lowering insurance rates. For that reason alone, legislators who attempt to push through a bill next session will have plenty of support at home.

Text Only
  • As education, good jobs falter, violent crime rate will go up

    As April winds down, and with it Child Abuse Prevention Month, it’s worth again noting that the rate of violence in Oklahoma has been creeping up in recent years. And it’s time for our state’s top leaders – who wear blinders when it comes to anything negative – to discuss what we’re going to do about it.
    Late last year, the FBI listed Oklahoma as the 10th most dangerous state in the union, based on statistics from 2012. Violent crimes are rape, murder, robbery and aggravated assault. Some Okies might find it a bit disconcerting to learn that our state ranked above California and New York in this data. Topping the list was Tennessee, followed by Nevada, Alaska, New Mexico, South Carolina, Delaware, Louisiana, Florida and Maryland.

    April 23, 2014

  • Ban on wage hikes by municipalities a mark of hypocrisy

    The words “God” and “governor” may share the same first two letters, but the two are hardly interchangeable.
    But let’s assume Gov. Mary Fallin really isn’t deluded enough to place her powers on the level of a deity. What rationale would a woman who has championed smaller government and local control use to explain her hypocrisy in banning individual Oklahoma cities from raising minimum wages in their jurisdictions?

    April 18, 2014

  • Community cleanups a good way to ensure our collective success

    This is our community – and it’s no better than what we make it. Let’s make it look great.

    April 16, 2014

  • Attack at school in Pennsylvania: Mental illness root of problem

    Washington’s crusade against guns was dealt a severe blow on Wednesday. No, it wasn’t the Supreme Court curtailment of the Second Amendment right of all Americans to own firearms. It wasn’t an executive order handed down by the administration. It was the brutal assault by a high school student in Pennsylvania against his fellow students – with a knife.

    April 14, 2014

  • People with faulty zippers should be booted from office

    We may forgive, but we shouldn’t forget, because there’s serious work to do in Washington. That work will never be accomplished as long as flawed zippers - literally or figurately – are a pervasive problem.

    April 11, 2014

  • Do your part to fight animal and child abuse

    It’s hard to change the habits of an abuser, especially when mitigating factors – such as alcohol or drugs – are involved. And these patterns tend to repeat themselves in successive generations. But all of us can take one small step to help eradicate this epidemic, and that is to report it when we see it.

    April 9, 2014

  • NSA head lies to Congress, and seems to get away with it

    Is there an obvious pattern of criminality within these governmental agencies? If so, why isn’t the Judicial Department investigating?

    April 7, 2014

  • Pass for rich kiddie rapist proves that justice isn’t blind

    Someone in Wilmington, Del., needs to keep an eye on Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden for the next few months, because she might improve her standard of living due to a sudden influx of cash.
    There’s no other way to explain why Jurden would have sentenced an ultra-wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter. It’s an outrageous miscarriage of justice that once again proves when it comes to the U.S. justice system, the elite get a pass almost every time.

    April 4, 2014

  • Maybe it’s not $3.2B, but state should still account for tribal cash

    In an editorial published last week, the Daily Press said that through tribal compacts, the state of Oklahoma received about $3.2 billion in annual revenue, partly attributable to the 117 casinos (or 118, in some reports) run by 33 tribes in the state. The information we accessed for that piece was confusing, and had a typo or two, which may have led us to overstate – to a considerable degree – how much money the tribes actually give the state.

    April 2, 2014

  • Tribal compacts should mean state has money to perform its functions

    Oklahoma should be rolling in the dough. The statistics bear that out. Thirty-three American Indian tribes operate 117 casinos in this state. Thanks to “compacts,” these tribes have been sharing the wealth with the state of Oklahoma. And thanks to the casinos, that wealth is substantial.

    March 28, 2014


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