Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oregon HB 3186 Restricts Mobile Devices While Driving

House Bill 3186 (ORS 811.507), effective January 1, 2012, has modified Oregon’s law against using handheld communications devices while driving. The goal is to make our roads safer for everyone.

The new law limits the situations where drivers can use a handheld communications device for talking to these two times:
  • You may use your phone without a hands-free accessory to summon medical or other emergency help 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.
Those in violation face a minimum fine of $110 (Class D violation).

Key elements of Oregon’s cell phone law:
For the purposes of two way communication and most drivers, the situations where driv­ers can use a handheld device for communi­cation are the following:
1. To a person who is summoning medical or other emergency help if no other person in the vehicle is capable of summoning help;
2. To a person using a mobile communication device for the purpose of farming or agricultural operations;
3. To a person operating an ambulance or emergency vehicle;
4. To a person 18 years of age or older who is using a hands-free accessory;
5. To a person operating a motor vehicle while providing public safety services or emergency services as a volunteer;
6. To a person operating a motor vehicle while acting in the scope of the person’s employment as a public safety officer;
7. To a person activating or deactivating the mobile communication device or a function of the device;
8. To a person who holds a valid amateur radio operator license issued or any other license issued by the Federal Communications Commission and is operating an amateur radio.

National studies continue to show that using a cell phone creates a distraction - and distracted driving is unsafe driving. The Oregon Department of Transportation and ACTS Oregon encourage drivers to focus on the task at hand: driving safely from one point to the next. Drivers should avoid any kind of distraction, not just mobile communica­tion devices.

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