Cell Phone Use While Driving
House Bill 3186 (ORS 811.507) went into effect January 1, 2012. This modifies Oregon’s law against using handheld communications devices while driving. The new law further restricts the situations where drivers can use handheld communications devices to the following:
- You may use your cell phone without a hands-free accessory to summon medical or other emergency help only if no other person in the vehicle is capable of summoning help.
- If you are operating an ambulance or emergency vehicle, roadside assistance or tow vehicle, or if you are operating a utility vehicle while servicing a utility, you may use your cell phone without a hands-free accessory.
- If you are operating a vehicle for the purpose of farming or agricultural operations, you may use your cell phone without a hands-free accessory.
In all other cases, you are required to use a hands-free accessory when using our cell phone. No driver of any age is allowed to text while driving. Additional reminders regarding Oregon's cell phone use law include:
- Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using all mobile communications devices, whether hands-free or not (emergencies are an exemption.)
- Violating this law is a primary offense, which means law enforcement personnel can stop a driver solely for using a mobile communications device without using a hands-free accessory.
- Those in violation face a minimum fine of $110.
The goal of the law is to limit distractions and increase safety. Texting and cell phone conversations can impair your ability to concentrate on your driving. Every time a driver takes his or her eyes or focus off the road - even momentarily - the consequences can be deadly.
At highway speeds, your vehicle will travel about 100 feet per second. Even if you are only distracted for 2 or 3 seconds, your vehicle can travel the length of a football field. While driving, your surroundings are constantly changing. A vehicle can suddenly slow in front of you or a vehicle can suddenly pull out from a side street or driveway without warning. If you as a driver are not paying full attention to your driving, you could be involved in a crash.
At the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, we want all motorists to drive safely and arrive at their destinations unharmed. Our approach to this new law is to try to educate the motoring public, to gain voluntary compliance with the law, and to hopefully increase the safety on our roadways.
We would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to purchase and use a hands-free accessory while driving and talking on your cell phone. If you find that you are still distracted while using a hands-free accessory, we encourage you to refrain from using your cell phone while driving. After all, the goal of the law is to make drivers safer and to guard your individual safety. As always, use your seat belt every time, drive sober and be safe! The life you save may be your own!