SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Oregon drivers soon can be pulled over for not only texting and talking on their cellphones, but also for navigating, using social media and any other “hands-on” cellphone and electronics use.
The Oregon Department of Transportation says distracted driving leads to a crash approximately every 3 hours on Oregon roads.
The Statesman Journal reports the changes, which begin Oct. 1, call for repeat offenders to face steeper fines and as much as a year in jail. The penalty for the first citation will be $260, up from $160. A second ticket could run you $435 and a third could mean jail time and a $2,000 fine.
Officials are hoping the changes will help officers nab reckless drivers and curb dangerous distracted driving behaviors.
Wording on the previous cellphone driving law made texting and talking on the phone the only primary distracted driving offenses, meaning if an officer spotted someone behind the wheel reading a Kindle or scrolling through Facebook, they could not pull them over solely for that.
Now, you have to be fully, safely parked before you can touch your phone — not just at a stop sign.
The law does have exceptions for commercial drivers and bus drivers using devices for their work.
KOIN 6 News contributed to this report.
Here’s a summary of the laws from ODOT