Oregon’s new distracted driving law takes effect on Sunday, October 1, 2017. The new law is much stricter and now makes it illegal for drivers to hold electronic devices, including cell phones, tablets and GPS units while they are driving. “Hands-free” functions, such as Bluetooth, headsets and speakerphone, are still permitted under the new law. If ticketed under the new law you will be facing much stiffer penalties as well as potential jail time.
The new Oregon law is another step designed to address an alarming safety concern in our community. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in the year 2015 – 3,477 people were killed and another 391,000 people were injured in auto accidents involving distracted driving. The NHTSA reports that text messaging is one of the most dangerous distractions to drivers. Sending/reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. When travelling at 55 mph, that’s the same as driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
Car accidents involving distracted driving are much too common in Oregon and the Willamette Valley. Unfortunately, these collisions are often devastating to those people injured and their families. Hopefully the new distracted driving law will help to diminish the amount of distracted driving accidents in our community – and keep us all safer on the roads.