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Oklahoma Highway Safety Office holds distracted driver enforcement event

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office held a distracted driving enforcement event to help teach...
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office held a distracted driving enforcement event to help teach about the dangers of not paying attention to the road.(KXII)
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 5:28 PM CST
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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office held a distracted driving enforcement event to help teach about the dangers of not paying attention to the road.

Officers with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Durant Police Department and Calera Police Department went into both Durant and Calera looking for drivers who were on their phones or otherwise distracted while on the road and issued citations.

“Specifically we were be focusing on drivers who are travelling down the road way using hand held devices or any kind of distraction going on inside the cabin,” said Captain Scott Hampton with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Hampton said driving while distracted by a phone or other device can slow a driver’s response time to “perceived hazards” on the road way.

During their demonstration the highway patrol pulled over Cole Shull and Stetson Butler in Durant.

Butler and Shull were not wearing seat belts and Shull admitted to being on the phone changing music.

“It’s just the same as texting and driving,” Shull said.

He was issued a $239 ticket. Ten dollars less than Oklahoma’s maximum fine for distracted driving.

“We weren’t wearing seatbelts too, I guess we get out of habit,” Butler said.

In 2021 the Oklahoma Highway Patrol worked 144 crashes in Bryan County alone due to distracted driving.

Lieutenant Scott Hampton says it’s because drivers don’t have their eyes on the road.

“In towns we’re worried about pedestrians, we’re worried about our kids leaving school. We just, just a month or two ago had a pretty good car pedestrian collision in a school zone in the city limits of Durant,” Hampton said. “It applies everywhere.”

Wednesday night OHP says a driver headed south on Highway 98 in McCurtain County went around a barricade closing off the road. He looked down at his phone, and after nearly missing a bulldozer swerved off and landed on the passenger side of his car.

“When you see someone who is distracted by their phone or some kind of electronic device they generally are not maintaining their lane,” Hampton said.

Shull admitted what he was doing made him a danger to himself and others on the road.

“Not in the moment of course because it’s only a few seconds but it obviously is because anything can happen,” Shull said.

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