Reckless Driving & Texting While Driving in Oklahoma – Law & Punishment

Reckless Driving

reckless driving arrest oklahoma defense lawyerIt’s considered reckless driving to drive a motor vehicle in a careless or wanton manner without regard for the safety of persons or property. The following are acts that constitute reckless driving:

  • violated a speed limit;
  • failed to attain or exceeded the speed that a careful and prudent person would have considered reasonable and proper having due regard for the traffic, surface, and width of the highway, and other conditions; and
  • exceeded the speed that a careful and prudent person would have considered reasonable and proper in order to stop within the assured clear distance ahead.

For “without regard for the safety of persons or property,” you must have had a conscious awareness of dangers to the safety of persons or property. The is no required mental state for reckless driving. It’s necessary to prove only that your acts and conduct, as judged by an objective reasonable-and-prudent-person standard, created dangers for the safety of persons or property.

Proof that the you have driven in a manner that disregards the safety of persons or property, or that violates the conditions of section 11-801, is not enough by itself to convict you of the crime of reckless driving. The State must also prove that you were driving in the “careless or wanton manner.”For example, you must not only be speeding, but also must be speeding to such an extent that your conduct would constitute culpable negligence. A “careless or wanton manner” signifies more than simply a violation of the speeding laws; it signifies culpable negligence.

Acts that courts have decided constitute reckless driving:

  • intoxicated driver forcing other drivers off the road
  • driving up behind cars then skidding sideways and passing in face of oncoming traffic, thereby forcing other cars off the road
  • “three beers” and 80-85 in a 55 m.p.h. zone, resulting in accident
  • “three beers” and accident
  • passing in the face of oncoming traffic, causing accident

The following acts have been decided to not constitute reckless driving:

  • no evidence of speed of vehicle
  • backing out of driveway into road and a collision occurred

Punishment

This crime is a misdemeanor. The range of punishment in jail is 5-90 days. The range of fine is $100-$500. On a second or subsequent conviction, he range of punishment in jail is ten days-six months. On a second or subsequent conviction, The range of fine is $150-$1,000. There will be four points assessed on your driver’s license for a reckless driving conviction.

Failure to Devote Time and Attention

The operator of every vehicle, while driving, must devote their full time and attention to driving.

The law enforcement officer must observe that the operator of the vehicle is involved in an accident or observe the operator of the vehicle driving in such a manner that poses an articulable danger to other persons on the roadway that is not otherwise specified in statute. A typical reason for this citation is hitting a curb. This is offense is often a reason people are pulled over for DUI.

This crime is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in jail is ten days for a first offense. The range of fine is $5-$500 for a first offense. The maximum punishment in jail is 20 days for a second conviction within one year after the first conviction. The maximum punishment in jail is six months for a third or subsequent conviction within one year after the first conviction.

Use of Cellular Telephone or Electronic Communication Device by a Person Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle

It’s illegal to operate a commercial motor vehicle or for a public transit driver to operate a motor vehicle on any street or highway while:

  1. Using a cellular telephone or electronic communication device to write, send, or read a text-based communication; or
  2. Using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

Using a hand-held mobile telephone is permissible by drivers of a commercial motor vehicle when necessary to communicate with law enforcement officials, other emergency services, or by a public school bus driver to and from a central dispatch school transportation department or its equivalent.

“Cellular telephone” means an analog or digital wireless telephone authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to operate in the frequency bandwidth reserved for cellular telephones.

“Electronic communication device” means an electronic device that permits the user to manually transmit a communication of written text by means other than through an oral transfer or wire communication. This term does not include a voice-activated global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to a motor vehicle.

“Operate” means operating on a street or highway, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device or other momentary delays. Operating doesn’t include when the driver of a commercial motor vehicle has moved the vehicle to the side of or off a street or highway and has halted in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.

“Public transit driver” means:

  1. any operator of a public transit vehicle owned and operated by the State of Oklahoma, any public trust authority, county, municipality, town, or city within Oklahoma,
  2. any operator of a school bus or multi-passenger motor vehicle owned and approved to operate by the State Department of Education or any school district within Oklahoma, or
  3. any operator, conductor, or driver of a locomotive engine, railway car or train of cars.

“Write, send, or read a text-based communication,” also known as texting, means manually entering alphanumeric text into, sending text, or reading text from, an electronic device, and includes, but is not limited to, short message service (SMS), emailing, instant messaging (IM), a command or request to access a World Wide Web page, or engaging in any other form of electronic text retrieval or entry, for present or future communication. Texting doesn’t include:

  1. using voice commands to select or enter a telephone number, an extension number, or voicemail retrieval codes and commands into an electronic device for the purpose of initiating or receiving a phone call,
  2. inputting, selecting, or reading information on a global positioning system or navigation system, or
  3. using a device capable of performing multiple functions for a purpose that is not otherwise prohibited in this part, including, but not limited to, fleet management systems, dispatching devices, smart phones, citizens band radios, and music players.

This law doesn’t apply to railroads and railroad operating employees regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Punishment

This crime is a misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $500. There will two points assessed on your license for texting while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), using a hand-held mobile device while operating a CMV, public transit driver operating a vehicle while texting, and a public transit driver operating a vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone.

Texting While Driving

It’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle on any street or highway while using a hand-held electronic communication device to manually compose, send, or read an electronic text message while the motor vehicle is in motion.

This law doesn’t apply if the person is using the cellular telephone or electronic communication device for the sole purpose of communicating with any of the following regarding an imminent emergency situation:

  1. An emergency response operator;
  2. A hospital, physician’s office, or health clinic;
  3. A provider of ambulance services;
  4. A provider of firefighting services; or
  5. A law enforcement agency.

“Compose,” “send”, or “read” with respect to a text message means the manual entry, sending, or retrieval of a text message to communicate with any person or device.

“Electronic communication device” means an electronic device that permits the user to manually transmit a communication of written text by means other than through an oral transfer or wire communication. This term does not include:

  1. a device that is physically or electronically integrated into a motor vehicle,
  2. a voice-operated global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to a motor vehicle,
  3. a hands-free device that allows the user to write, send, or read a text message without the use of either hand except to activate, deactivate or initiate a feature or function, or
  4. an ignition interlock device that has been installed on a motor vehicle.

“Text message” includes a text-based message, instant message, electronic message, photo, video, or electronic mail.

Punishment

This crime is a misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $100. There are no points associated with this offense.

Sources: 47 O.S. §§ 11-801, 11-901, 11-901b, 11-901c, 11-901d, & 17-101 and Points Assessed for Conviction

Current as of May 3, 2020. Note that laws can change at any time. See the linked sources above for the most up-to-date law.

Charged with reckless driving in Oklahoma? Call Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer Frank Urbanic in OKC for a free case consultation.

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