New Oregon Law: Cell Phone Use While Driving
Oregon has passed a new law regarding cell phone use while driving. Oregon drivers will now be limited to hands free communication while driving. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2010. Those under 18 are barred from use of cell phones even with the hands free devices.
All drivers are banned from using their cell phones to text message. In Oregon, using your cell phone while driving is considered a primary offense. This means you can be pulled over just for talking on your phone or texting. The fine for driving while using a cell phone will be up to $90.
There are a few exceptions to the cell phone law. If you need to call 911, and there isn’t a passenger capable of making the call, you are allowed to use your cell phone while driving without a hands free device. Safety workers and emergency personnel are also exempt from the new law.
A hands free device can be anything that allows you to use your cell phone while keeping both hands on the wheel. It could be a wired headset, a Bluetooth, or a mounted device in your car. You can find accessories for a variety of cell phones in many online websites or visit your local cell phone supplier store. One online store that I have purchased my Bluetooth wireless headset from is here. They have a great variety of products for most cell phones on the market and the prices were great for me. Depending on your phone, you may be able to purchase a decent Bluetooth for as little as $20. Before buying a Bluetooth product for your phone, make sure and check to see if your phone has Bluetooth capability.
It will be interesting to see how many people stop using their cell phone while driving in Oregon. In Washington, where a similar law was passed in 2008, there doesn’t appear to this driver to have been a large impact. The main difference in the laws between Washington and Oregon is that in Washington, talking on your cell phone while driving is considered a secondary offense. Officers in Washington won’t pull you over specifically for cell phone use.
Does having a hands free device mean it’s safe to drive and chat? According to some sources, it isn’t safer. Talking on a cell phone takes your attention away from the road. Having two hands on the wheel isn’t going to help you avoid an accident if you don’t notice the car in front of you suddenly stopping. I feel it would be best not to talk unless necessary, and to always use your hands free device.
Governors Highway Safety Association http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html
Driving Laws http://www.drivinglaws.org/oregon.php
Read the bill here http://www.leg.state.or.us/09reg/measpdf/hb2300.dir/hb2377.a.pdf