Breaking Down Oklahoma’s Distracted Driving Laws

Breaking Down Oklahoma’s Distracted Driving LawsMost people think about Oklahoma’s distracted driving laws in the context of making a phone call or sending a text message. However, there are many other forms of distracted driving that can cause an accident. This can result in significant fines if you are caught driving recklessly or carelessly.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, Oklahoma has laws in place that require all drivers to focus on the road when they are driving. However, the law mainly discusses activities on a cell phone or mobile device, such as making a call or sending a text message. There are many other forms of distracted driving; if you cause an accident while distracted or are found to be driving recklessly or carelessly, an Oklahoma City police officer may give you a citation for distracted driving.

Civil laws affecting a distracted driving case in OKC

If you sustained injuries or losses because of a distracted driver in Oklahoma City, you can file a civil lawsuit. Here, the laws governing Oklahoma personal injury cases would apply. Generally speaking, that means you would file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver first. If negotiations fail, then you file a lawsuit.

The initial claim must be filed within two years of the accident – and that’s pretty much the only law you need to know; our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers will handle the rest.

Examples of distracted driving

Since most people only think of distracted driving as making a call or texting, it is important to know that there are many other examples of distracted driving that are illegal. Here are seven examples and scenarios that may be able to help you gain a better understanding of the various forms of distracted driving that can lead to a car accident:

  1. Holding and using your phone as a GPS: Many people only think about using their phone to text, call, email, or post on social media while driving. However, you should also never hold your phone and use it as a GPS device. While you may need directions to get to your destination, using it as a GPS like this can distract you from the road and cause an accident. If you need to use your phone as a GPS, purchase a phone mount to keep the device out of your hands.
  2. Eating while driving: Although many people become hungry after work or during long road trips, it is crucial to pull over or make a pit stop to eat. It can be tempting to eat your food while holding onto the steering wheel, but the reality is that you can easily spill something, lose control, and put yourself and other drivers at risk of an accident.
  3. Looking out the window (a.k.a. rubbernecking): It is easy to become distracted by the things you see outside the vehicle. For example, you may notice construction work, animals, or a car crash on the side of the road. As humans, it is normal to want to look at these events happening around you, but when behind the wheel, it is crucial to keep your focus and attention on the task at hand: driving.
  4. Handling your grooming needs: People have bad mornings where they are running late for work or an important meeting. You may think that you can handle some of your grooming needs on the way to work, like combing your hair, putting on makeup, or applying deodorant. The reality is that during the few minutes that you are using the fold-down mirror in your vehicle, you can also cause a severe accident. It is best to remain on the safe side and handle your grooming needs at home even if it means that you may be a few minutes late.
  5. Tending to your dog or cat: If you are an animal lover, there is a good chance that you have a pet you enjoy taking on car rides, or you may have to take them to a veterinarian appointment. You should ensure that you have a cage or restraining system to prevent your pet from roaming around your vehicle. If they get out, they may make their way to you, which can cause you to take your eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel.
  6. Playing with your child: If you have children in the backseat, they can quickly become fussy during car rides. You may decide to sing a song, play peek-a-boo, or ask them about objects they see out the window. While it may seem harmless to calm your child, it also takes your concentration off the road, causing you to strike a pedestrian, enter a road work zone, or rear-end another vehicle. Pull over to handle your child’s needs when they become restless or upset.
  7. Insects or bugs invading your space: Insects or bugs invading your space are certainly a distraction! Unfortunately, this can happen at any time, particularly when the windows are down. You may notice a spider hanging from your visor, a wasp creeping on the seat beside you, or a bee buzzing around your face. If this happens, you may become startled or even begin to panic. If you do not keep your eyes on the road, you may swerve or veer into other lanes, leading to a catastrophic accident.

Have you recently been in an accident with a distracted driver? If so, the Oklahoma City car accident lawyers at Cunningham & Mears can help you navigate your case and obtain compensation for your damages. It can be difficult to prove that another driver was distracted when they caused your accident; However, our team of skilled car accident lawyers work tirelessly to obtain the evidence necessary to hold distracted drivers accountable. Please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.