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Page 4 November 5, 2015 Edmond Life & Leisure

From the Publisher

U Text. U Drive. U Pay


You may be saturated with this
message by now from our friends in
the media but for me, this new law is
a time to rejoice. It isnt often I get
excited about any new law put into
place but this one I was able to get
behind from day
one. I spend much
of my day driving in
Edmond and in
Oklahoma City. I
lost count of how
many close calls occurred because the
person in front of
me or beside me
Ray Hibbard
was texting. Even
this last Sunday, the day the new law
went into effect, a guy in a pickup
truck was texting while backing up in
a parking lot and almost crashed into
my already parked car.
I had just gotten in my car after
coming out of the store when I saw
the back end of his truck heading for
my car. I looked inside the cab and
saw he was texting at the same time
he was trying to back into the parking space next to mine. I laid on my
horn which stopped his motion. He
looked up and got angry at me for
honking. He jumped out of his truck
and screamed Why are you honking
at me? I jumped out of mine, said
nothing and just stood looking downward at him because there was a noticeable size difference. He jumped
back in his truck and took off. Guess
he changed his mind about going
shopping.
My only hope is that the new law
will finally get people to understand
how incredibly dangerous it is to
drive a 2,000-pound vehicle and have
your nose buried in a phone. It
amazes me that people get angry
when you honk at them while they
are texting and about to cause an accident. They are so absorbed in their
text or post that they have no idea
they just drifted into the next lane,
ran a stop light or almost backed into
you in a parking lot. Just like many
folks, I get a lot of texts during the
day but I cant remember a single
one that was so important it was
worth a car accident.
I stopped the practice many years
ago after attending some programs
put on by AT&T. I firmly believe it
was their hard work and increasing
awareness of the dangers of texting
and driving that led to HB 1965
which makes texting while driving a
primary offense in Oklahoma. This
means an officer can pull you over if
you are texting and issue a citation
without witnessing any other violations. Violating the new law carries a
fine of up to $100. For any that still

think they can handle it you need


to ask yourself if the text you are
sending is worth $100. Edmond also
has an ordinance that carries a $100
fine so I am thinking your fines could
total $200.
While many recognize the dangers of texting while driving, drivers
of all ages continue to do it every
day, said Senator Stephanie Bice, ROklahoma City. I supported this
statewide ban, which is an important
step, but it will take all of us working
together to end this deadly epidemic. In 2013, the most recent
year for which data is available, drivers distracted by electronic devices in
Oklahoma were involved in 14 fatal
crashes and more than 600 crashes
that caused injury. No text can be
worth one life or injury.
"I'm encouraged to hear from
many Oklahomans who are taking
steps to avoid texting while driving,
said Representative Randy Grau, REdmond. Education about the dangers of distracted driving, as well as
the new law, is vital to making our
roads safer for everyone."
Weve seen recent studies that
show when drivers try to text and
drive, they are much more likely to
crash than those who dont. When
you take that into consideration, it
seems obvious that we needed to
pass a law banning the practice, said
Senator Clark Jolley, R-Edmond. We
want to remind everyone to keep
their eyes on the road and hands on
the wheel because a text message is
not worth risking someones life.
The ban on texting while driving
is a long-term investment into the
safety of those using our roads and

highways, said Representative Marian Cooksey, R-Edmond. By changing the law, we are taking an
important step in helping change the
attitudes and behaviors of Oklahoma
drivers and will hopefully save some
lives along the way.
Here are some tips to help motorists comply with this new texting
while driving ban and keep themselves, and others, safe while on the
road:
n Keep your phone on silent or
turned off when you are behind the
wheel. Hearing the phone ding or
buzz will make you want to pick it up
and reply.
n Download free mobile apps, like
AT&T DriveMode, which silences incoming texts and emails and then
auto-replies to the message, letting
the sender know youre driving and
will respond when youve arrived
safely.
n Set-up hands-free bluetooth in
your car for talking on the phone.
n Store your phone in the glove
box or somewhere out-of-reach while
driving. This is what I do that works
and takes all temptation out of picking up the phone.
Still confused about what you can
and cant do with your phone in your
car? Here is a simple guide that was
printed in last Sundays Oklahoman
but I have added my comments:
Can you read text and e-mail while
driving? Heck no you cannot.
Can you still make phone calls? Yes
but I hope we change this one day as
well. I see plenty of folks on the road
talking away weaving between lanes

or going 40 mph on the highway totally unaware they are not paying attention to their driving.
If you are sitting at a stop light,
can you still text someone? Yes, but
dont. The temptation is too great to
continue the texting conversation
when you start to roll again. If you
need to return a text so much, pull
off the road where it is safe, put the
car in park and then knock yourself
out texting. There are still lots of
things going on and hazards when
you are stopped at a stoplight.
Can you still use hands-free maps
app while driving? The answer is yes.
I have lots to say about the dangers
of this but Ive probably been too
much of a grump in this weeks column anyway.
Can you tweet or post to social
media while driving? No, unless you
just feel like burning a $100 in fines
or you care so little about saving lives
that you regard your post as more
important than life itself. Look at it
from this view point, have you ever
read a social media post that is
worth a life or injury?
Sound harsh? I hope so. It is a dangerous habit that has to be stopped.
While it seems silly to have to make
a law to get people to stop texting
and driving, it needs to stop now and
I hope you will do your part. Life is
precious my friends and way too
short. I cannot think of anything
more senseless as causing an injury
or death because you feel the need
to text, post, tweet or poke. Can
you?

(Ray Hibbard may be reached by


e-mail at ray@edmondpaper.com)

Check out
whats inside!
n Confiscating 310 million guns is impossible..................................Page 8.
n Part two of David Farris look at a lynching..................................Page 9.
n Recap of last weeks Mayors Prayer Breakfast............................Page 11.
n Weekend calendar of events ......................................................Page 12.
n Bronchos rout opponent ............................................................Page 13.
n George Gust pans new Sandra Bullock film ................................Page 21.
n Crossword ..................................................................................Page 21.
n Business News ............................................................................Page 23.
n Worship directory ......................................................................Page 28.

Storybook Forest again a success ... See Page 19

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