Okla. senator pushes for law that prohibits texting and driving

OKLAHOMA CITY – Stephanie Mattingly still thinks about the moment that claimed the life of her 19-year-old brother.

Mattingly said, “He was going over a hill and rear-ended a semi going 65 miles per hour. He didn’t have any time to stop.”

She lost her 19-year-old brother, Justin, in a car wreck in April of 2012.

Minutes before the accident, Justin had posted to Facebook.

Still today, Stephanie hangs on to the last exchange she received from her brother the night before the crash.

She said, ‘He sent me a text message actually. The last thing I ever got from him was a smiley face.”

Stephanie added, “He said, ‘I’m going to be at your house in a few hours,’ and I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to go to bed.”

According to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, 29 people were killed due to distracted driving in 2012.

The numbers are motivation for Oklahoma State Sen. Susan Paddack, who filed legislation against texting and driving.

Under the proposed law, violators would get a $100 fine.

After 5 years of trying, the senator hopes this latest measure will pass.

In a statement, she says, “Over 2/3 of our states have passed legislation dealing with texting and driving. It is a huge public safety issue.  Every day that I am on the road, I see drivers who are texting and not paying attention to their driving.”

However, some don’t believe this law will break any bad habits.

David Slane, a trial attorney, said, “I think it’s a well-intended law. I just think it’s unnecessary.”

He added, “We already have laws on the books against distracted driving. So, officers can already cite people.”

That law, passed in 2010, fines distracted drivers but supporters of this latest measure think the law should be more specific to texting.

Mattingly said, “I always said when I got married I wanted my littler brothers to walk me down the aisle and I won’t get that chance.”

Currently, 41 states have laws against texting and driving.