OKLAHOMA CITY — Earlier this month, the governor signed a proclamation declaring this week “Drive Aware Oklahoma” week across our state.
The goal is to inspire Oklahomans to take their eyes off phone calls and text messages and put them back on the road.
It’s a message many may have seen on highway signs in the state this week.
The signs are flashing an alert to stop the texts and stop the wrecks.
Experts said most drivers would agree that texting behind the wheel is a bad idea.
However, those same drivers tend to think nothing bad is going to happen to them.
OK State Safety Council’s Dave Koeneke said, “It’s the ‘It must be everybody else’ syndrome.”
Though the reality is it could happen to you.
A PSA from the ad council states the average text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds.
It’s a choice that could drastically change your life or someone else’s.
Koeneke said, “Just because it’s not against the law to text doesn’t mean it’s a good thing to do.”
OKC Police Capt. Dee Patty said, “It’s a very dangerous thing.”
The Oklahoma City Police Department is just one of the groups joining with the Oklahoma Safety Council this week to promote the message, stop the texts stop the wrecks.
The council even worked with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to get their message on 48 electronic message boards around the state.
“It’s kind of a last ditch reminder right there in the middle of the road when people are on their way to work and on their way to school,” he said. “They see those flashing signs. Hopefully, they’ll think just for an instant, ‘Oh, I should put this phone down. It can wait. It’s not that important.’”
Oklahoma currently does not have any legislation against texting and driving though the safety council hopes that will someday change.
Koeneke said, “Laws give guidance. They tell you, ‘it’s the right thing to do, it’s not the right thing to do.’”
In the meantime, they hope these signs will at least make drivers think before they text.
Oklahoma City Police said those caught texting and driving can be ticketed for Failure to Devote Full Time and Attention to Driving.
However, it’s a law that is hard to enforce.
Find more on “Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks” here.