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Texting and driving bill, how will it be enforced?

LAWTON, Okla._A much stricter law in Oklahoma is just one step away, now that the Legislature has approved a bill that makes texting and driving a primary offense.

Right now, a driver can only be cited for texting and driving if they're pulled over for another violation, such as running a red light. But if Governor Mary Fallin signs the bill, an officer can ticket you if he spots you in the act behind the wheel starting November 1.

If this bill were law right now, we would have some busy law enforcement officers. Several people were spotted texting and driving in Lawton, but the good news is officials are ready to stop them should this become law.

You hear the notification, pick up the phone and start texting. It's easy how quickly you can become distracted and Trooper Russell Boswell says catching someone texting and driving is not much more difficult.

"It's extremely easy. It's comparable to seeing if someone's wearing their seatbelt or not. If they don't have tinted windows, you can see them through their vehicle. You can see if someone's head's down or if they're holding up their phone. They don't try to hide it. So, it's a matter of keeping an eye out for it," explained Trooper Boswell.

Boswell says they want to stop all texting and driving, so if you're seen with your phone and you seem distracted, they will stop you.

"If we can see if someone is texting or on their phone, then that's all we have to have for probable cause to pull them over,” explained Trooper Boswell. "If we can see them, you can count on the red and blue lights pulling you over and you're probably going to get a ticket."

The law may be for texting and driving, but what about other popular distractions like maps and music?

"The only real concern we have is being able to differentiate if somebody's texting or maybe going through a photo album on their phone. My advice to the public would be to just not have your phone in your hands while you're driving down the roadway to avoid an inconvenience by being stopped by a state trooper," said Trooper Boswell.

Trooper Boswell says whether you're going 70 miles an hour down the highway or 30 down a local street, your car can quickly become a lethal weapon if you drive distracted.

The Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act of 2015 is named after two state troopers who were struck by a driver, who authorities say was distracted by his phone. If signed into law, the bill would go into effect November 1.

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