Sen. Ron Sharp filed legislation Friday to expand the Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act of 2015. 

Senate Bill 44 strengthens the law to prohibit not just texting while driving but using any kind of hand held device while behind the wheel unless it is with a hands free accessory

“The Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act has helped decrease the number of accidents in Oklahoma caused by texting and driving but more needs to be done.  One death is too many,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee.  “Drivers are still getting distracted by their phones and other electronic devices and there’s no reason to be using them while driving except in emergencies. This bill will make our roads safer and protect Oklahomans from hurting themselves or others by keeping them focused on the road.”

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety released data earlier this year that since November 1, 2015, when HB 1965 (the Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act) went into effect, accidents and fatalities have been reduced by 30 percent.  The bill has the support of DPS.  

If approved, SB 44 would go into effect Nov. 1, 2017.  Session will begin on Monday, February 6.