While the new distracted driving law has been in an effectfor several months, many people are still unaware of what exactly is prohibitedby the new law.
Here’s a breakdown by Portland car accident attorney Paul Galm, which covers everything you need toknow about the new hands free driving law: What’s Different From the 2009 Distracted Driving Law?The new Oregon cell phone law from October 2017 closes someof the loopholes in theoriginal distracted driving law. While the old law required drivers to usea hand-free device to make phone calls and banned texting while driving, it didnot specifically prohibit drivers from playing games, browsing music, orprogramming their navigation app while they were driving. In contrast, the new distracted driving law, which went intoeffect October 1, 2017, prohibits drivers from using any function on the phonethat requires holding or touching, with the exception of activating ordeactivating a function on the phone, as long as it is limited to a singletouch or swipe. If you need to complete a task that requires you to hold thephone in your hand like typing in an address, you must pull over onto the sideof the road or park before engaging with your device.
This includes phone useat red lights, stop signs, and stopped traffic, which is prohibited by the law.What Happens If You Get Caught Using Your Phone? Under these new Oregon texting and driving laws, there is alarger fine for being caught using your phone. Rather than the previous $160fine, the new law raises the presumptive fine to $260 for first time offendersand a $435 fine for second time offenders. First time offenders whose offensecontributes to a crash must pay a $435 fine and anyone with a third violationwithin 10 years could be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries jail timeand a fine up to $2500.
Are There Any Exceptions? Anyone 17 or younger cannot take advantage of the hands-freedevice extension and must not use their phone in any capacity while driving. Inthe case of an emergency, drivers may use their cellphone to call 911, as longas there is no one else in the car available to do so, and emergency respondersare allowed to use cell phones as long as they are responding to an emergencycall. Distracteddriving is the number one cause of car accidents in the United States. Ifyou or someone you love has been the victim of a distracted driver. Contact Paul Galm today.