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Are Oregon's distracted driving laws making the roads safer?

As an Oregon driver, you may have noticed that distracted driving is a serious concern. When you drive to work, to the store, to your friend's house or even just down the street, you could be sharing the road with a distracted driver. Distraction in any form is extremely dangerous and significantly increases the chance for an accident. 

Oregon first passed strict distracted driving laws in 2017 and later updated them in 2018. It is illegal in the state to hold an electronic device while operating a vehicle. Drivers who violate these laws are subject to fines and other consequences. These laws are responsible to the growing number or collisions caused by drivers who were texting, talking on the phone or engaging in another type of distracted driving. Despite the laws in place, it is still a problem.

As serious as impaired driving 

You may know that the specific fines and penalties for distracted driving depend on a sliding scale. The higher the number of previous distracted driving offenses, the higher the fines. The following is an example of how distracted driving fines and penalties work in Oregon: 

  • A first distracted driving offense not involving a collision can result in fines as high as $1,000.
  • A second offense or a first offense that results in an accident can lead to fines as high as $2,000.
  • Drivers caught for a third time face the possibility of up to 10 years in prison.

The laws in the state are tough because the consequences of distracted driving can be significant. You are probably aware that distracted drivers often display some of the same behaviors that impaired drivers display, including swerving and erratic driving.

The statistics on distracted driving are encouraging. Approximately nine people die every day in distraction-related crashes across the country, which amounts to close to 3,000 people annually. It is a serious public safety concern, which is why Oregon law enforcement remains committed to giving citations to drivers who are breaking the law. 

What if you are in an accident?

If you suffered injuries in an accident related to distracted driving, you have options. No matter the laws in place, victims still have the right to hold liable parties accountable for their reckless and negligent actions behind the wheel. There is no excuse for distracted driving, and you may be able to claim financial compensation through a civil claim for damages and accident-related losses.

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