While the new distracted driving law has been in an effect
for several months, many people are still unaware of what exactly is prohibited
by the new law. Here’s a breakdown by Portland car accident attorney Paul Galm, which covers everything you need to
know 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 some
of the loopholes in the
original distracted driving law. While the old law required drivers to use
a hand-free device to make phone calls and banned texting while driving, it did
not specifically prohibit drivers from playing games, browsing music, or
programming their navigation app while they were driving.
In contrast, the new distracted driving law, which went into
effect October 1, 2017, prohibits drivers from using any function on the phone
that requires holding or touching, with the exception of activating or
deactivating a function on the phone, as long as it is limited to a single
touch or swipe.
If you need to complete a task that requires you to hold the
phone in your hand like typing in an address, you must pull over onto the side
of the road or park before engaging with your device. This includes phone use
at 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 a
larger fine for being caught using your phone. Rather than the previous $160
fine, the new law raises the presumptive fine to $260 for first time offenders
and a $435 fine for second time offenders. First time offenders whose offense
contributes to a crash must pay a $435 fine and anyone with a third violation
within 10 years could be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries jail time
and a fine up to $2500.
Are There Any Exceptions?
Anyone 17 or younger cannot take advantage of the hands-free
device extension and must not use their phone in any capacity while driving. In
the case of an emergency, drivers may use their cellphone to call 911, as long
as there is no one else in the car available to do so, and emergency responders
are allowed to use cell phones as long as they are responding to an emergency
driving is the number one cause of car accidents in the United States. If
you or someone you love has been the victim of a distracted driver. Contact Paul Galm today.