Oregon’s New Distracted Driving Rule is One of the Strictest in the Nation
Virginia like most states has distracted driving laws. It’s illegal to text at the wheel. However, the new law is considerably less comprehensive than Oregon’s new distracted driving rule.
Oregon’s new distracted driving took effect at the start of the month.
The state’s Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 2597 in August. It means drivers will no longer be able to drive while holding their phone.
The news channel KATU2 reported a motorist commits the offense of “driving a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device” if they are holding their phone in their hand while driving.
The offense goes well beyond texting. A driver commits an offense if he or she uses their phone for any purpose. Oregon’s new distracted driving rule applies to tablets, GPS, laptops, and other devices.
The new law also meant higher fines for offenders. A first-time distracted driving offender can now be fined $260 – an increase from $160. If the distracted driving incident leads to a wreck, the fine is more than $400.
Oregon drivers who commit a third distracted driving offense over a 10-year period face six months in jail. The driver would also have to pay a fine of $2,000.
In some cases the new law does not apply, according to Oregon’s Department of Transportation, specifically:
- When drivers over the age of 18 are using hands-free or built-in devices.
- The use of a single touch or swipe to turn a device on and off, or start and stop a function like navigation within a phone.
- When a driver is safely parked such as being in a parking spot off the road. However, Oregon’s law does not allow the use of a hand-held cell phone when you are stopped at a stop light stop sign, or in traffic.
- While providing or summoning medical help or when nobody else is available to make the call.
- Use by emergency responders.
- When using a two-way radio if you are a CB user, a school bus driver, a utility truck driver in using the radio in the scope of your employment.
- If you are a HAM radio operator aged 18 years or older.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. Find out more on our website or please call us at (757) 455-0077.