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Oregon’s New Distracted Driving Rule is One of the Strictest in the Nation

I pride myself in helping clients through their toughest times.- Bill O’Mara

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

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.

Oregon’s New Distracted Driving Rule

Oregon’s New Distracted Driving Rule clamps down on phone users

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.

Bill O'Mara

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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