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Troopers enforce new texting while driving law

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The state’s new texting while driving law went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday morning and troopers were out enforcing the new law.

Electronic message boards over the highways have been warning drivers for a while now that the new law goes into effect November 1st.

“It’s all over the place.  If they don’t know about it, they’re just not paying attention,” said Trooper Kaleb Kemp with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

But apparently, not everyone knew the fines were coming.

“I’ve been following you for a little bit and I’ve been watching you look down at your phone.  I’ve seen you do it about ten times,” said Trooper Kemp to one driver he pulled over.

He says she told him she was unaware, even though he pulled her over right in front of one of the electronic message boards.

“I do, unfortunately, check text messages every now and then but yeah, it’s more music than anything,” said the driver.

Trooper Kemp says they’re making sure motorists know the new law.

For now, it’s zero tolerance; no warnings, just tickets.

The new law says you can’t read, manually compose or send a text while driving.

You also can’t update social media or read e-mail.

You can talk on your phone and use GPS.

Trooper Kemp says he’s watching for drivers who are doing more than just glancing at a map.

“When I’m going to make a traffic stop, I’m going to be sure that they’ve been doing it for a while and not just going to look over and catch them glancing at their cell phone and make a traffic stop,” said Trooper Kemp.

We did a ride along with Trooper Kemp for about an hour and a half Sunday afternoon and the vast majority of people we passed were obeying the law and paying attention to the road.

“I’m kind of impressed.  Usually, I do see more people on their cell phones,” said Trooper Kemp.

But another driver he pulled over also said he was unaware of the new law.

“I pulled you over for you being on your cell phone.  You were texting when I drove by you.  OK?  That is against the law effective today,” Trooper Kemp told that driver.

We asked that driver if he usually texts while driving.

“Uh, no, typically, I don’t,” he said.

The fine for texting while driving is $100, but the actual ticket with court costs and other fees included comes to $216.50.

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