Updated Distracted Driving Law in Oregon

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On October 15, 2017

Cell Phones Can Get You Jail Time in Oregon-Oregon’s new Distracted Driving Law?

Do you drive a vehicle? Do you use a cell phone? Many of us have and use both as the world continues to trend into a vehicle accessible and cell phone aiding society. Nevertheless, it’s officially illegal to operate both at the same time with the new distracted driving law. Local law enforcement agencies have even started to take action against those who are in violation of the new law. If pulled over, police will not accept the excuse “I didn’t know”, and consequences can be steep. If you haven’t heard about the House Bill that can send you to jail as of October 1st, keep reading.

According to The Oregonian, the earlier 2009 version of the Distracted Driving law required drivers to use a hands-free device to make phone calls and banned texting. While it helped keep roads safe, drivers could still do many things on their electronic devices.  At least as long as they weren’t calling or texting. Under House Bill 2597, it is now illegal for most citizens to drive while holding or using an electronic device.  According to ODOT, distraction occurs when a driver diverts attention to something unrelated to driving.  The distraction must also involve the driver’s eyes, ears or hands.  The four types of driver distraction are visual, auditory, manual, and cognitive.  Most distractions while driving involve more than one of these, both a sensory as well as a mental component.

What else can happen if I violate the new Distracted Driving Law?

Violations were updated too. While there are larger fines associated with first two offenses, the third offense within 10 years is a class B misdemeanor.  A class B misdemeanor can result in up to $2,500 in fines and up to 6 months of jail time.  For a first offense that does not include an accident, the court may suspend the fine if the driver completes an approved distracted driving avoidance class and shows proof to the court.

We hope to never see anyone who is facing misdemeanor charges for distracted driving, but we are here if you need us. For more information about the Distracted Driving law, visit the Oregon Department of Transportation’s website or give our firm a call at 503.223.3422.


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