Touching your phone while driving in Oregon is illegal starting Oct. 1

Currently, under Oregon law you are allowed to use your cell phone while driving, as long as it’s not used for texting or making calls. But starting October 1st, not only are drivers not allowed to use any electronic device, simply touching the damn thing can get you pulled over. This includes using built in maps, social media, or whatever else you are tempted to use while behind the steering wheel.

“If it’s something that’s not two-way communication, it’s allowed by law,” Speldrich said. “But we know, common sense tells us it’s not any safer to check your bank statement than it is to be texting while you’re driving down the road.” Springfield Police Officer Tom Speldrich told KMTR.

When the law kicks in, aside from quickly touching or swiping to turn something on or off, drivers will not be allowed to touch a mobile electronic device. So how does an officer determine whether or not you were touching your phone to turn something off? We’re not really sure, to be honest. According to the news, even having your phone in your lap can get you a ticket. The news goes on to remind you that even using your device at an intersection while stopped is illegal as well and can get you slapped with a $1,000 fine in Oregon. If you get caught the second time, the violation could mean up to $2,500. A third violation can even land your ass in jail.

For those of you wondering if Bluetooth will be an option, according to one report hands-free will be the only legal use of a cell phone as of the bill’s Oct. 1 effective date. As far as ham radios go or communications say between a wide load and a pilot car, as long as the equipm

According to one report, Oregon has seen a 58 percent increase in driving deaths since 2013. In 2016, it’s been reported 495 people died on Oregon’s roads.

Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, criticized the bill, noting that distracted driving has many causes.

“Whether I’m handling a cellphone or I’m chasing the M&M that I just dropped in my lap or the bag of Skittles that’s on the floorboard under my feet, distracted driving is distracted driving,” he said. “Distracted driving should be our target, not the use of mobile electronic devices.”

Oh, and as you might expect police officers and emergency workers are exempt from the law.

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Sunset Lodgingl

17 COMMENTS

    • As much as I’d like to agree with you, it is truly terrifying the number of distracted drivers that I follow daily. Some weaving in and out of bike lanes. Others who slam on their brakes moments before impact, sometimes too late. Those who sit through green lights, focused on the phone in front of them. It is an epidemic. This law might help change that behavior.

      • Yes but to not allow us to use the GPS feature with audio directions and traffic advisories will not help. Maps and/or written directions along with searching through radio stations for road reports will pull our eyes off the road much more. I understand not using a phone for other things, but this is a huge step backward. Should they will ban radios, food, pets, or the biggest distraction– children– from cars as well?

        • You shouldn’t have to touch your phone to use the GPS mapping feature to get audio directions. Most smart phones can be voice enabled. A hefty fine should definitely deter people from doing things to endanger the lives of other drivers. You must live somewhere where there is limited traffic, because hands on phones is clearly, based on daily observation, the biggest distraction on the road where I live. No exaggeration, 3 out of every 5 drivers at a traffic light has their phone in their hand and 2 out of every 3 drivers in my rear view mirror are shifting their eyes from the road to their lap like fluttery butterfly wings. Yes, children are distracting, but you can’t legislate them out of cars…you can, however, legislate drunk driving and obvious phone use.
          An observant person wouldn’t want to share the road with these people, but you instead make excuses for why you should continue to be allowed to be a danger to the public.

          • There needs to be a LOT more clarification. I’ve gone to several media sites and read NO use of phones while driving, including GPS. One said to get a phone mount, but we cannot have a phone on our laps. Can it be on the console? What’s the difference? Some cars have GPS features that require touching — are they banned too? And btw, I do not recall seeing another driver using their phone, putting on makeup, eating, reading, etc, (although I’m sure they’re out there) because I’M WATCHING THE ROAD and not looking in cars.

  1. So, I have used GPS for years both on a Tom Tom, the built in in the car and on my phone. I never actually have to touch my device while I’m driving. I program the address/location in before I leave then just follow the voice command. How is this a distraction if you are listening to directions, it’s no different than listening to the radio or listening to someone talk to you.

  2. What about lipstick and eye shadow? Every damn cop I see on a cell phone I’m going to request a Public Search and see if he was talking to their spouse or making a PERSONAL call…the law says FOR THEIR DUTIES in it, not personal use