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Jan-04-2010 15:47printcomments

Working Oregonians Can Still Use Cell Phones While Driving?

There certainly is some gray area in Oregon's new cell phone driving ban.

Cell phone driving
Courtesy: citywest.ca

(SALEM, Ore.) - A new law went into effect New Year's Day that bans Oregon drivers from talking on a cell phone or texting while driving. But police indicate that there will be some likely challenges to this somewhat vague law, one that allows certain work-related exceptions to the rule.

OregonLive reports that the new law that was passed by the 2009 Oregon Legislature, contains an exemption for motorists who use hand held cellular phones, "in the scope of the person's employment if operation of the motor vehicle is necessary for the person's job."

This was meant to apparently account for taxi drivers, delivery trucks and tow truck drivers. Media certainly should fall into that category, as do police.

Lt. Gregg Hastings with Oregon State Police says it will probably come down to the decisions of judges, as police are not exactly sure at this point which occupations will qualify for the exception.

Oregon is one of several U.S. states to pass a ban on hand held cell phones and texting while driving.

According to the state of Oregon:

"HB2377 prohibits all drivers from using a mobile communication device while operating a motor vehicle. Under the new law, if you are over the age of 18, you may use a wireless device if you are using a hands free accessory that allows you to keep both hands on the wheel while you are driving. Drivers that are under the age of 18 may not use a wireless device in any case except specific situations such as an emergency or farming or agricultural operations."

The list of exemptions can be viewed in the house bill, a link is available at the bottom of the page.

The exemption applies, "To a person operating an ambulance or emergency vehicle; (d) To a person 18 years of age or older who is using a hands-free accessory; (e) To a person operating a motor vehicle while providing public safety services or emergency services as a volunteer."

Further clarification to the exemption states that it applies, "To a person operating a motor vehicle in the scope of the person's employment if operation of the motor vehicle is necessary for the person's job"

The offense described in this section, operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile communication device, is a Class D traffic violation.

To learn more visit: Oregon House Bill 2377

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Anonymous January 5, 2010 4:38 am (Pacific time)

80% percent of all rear end collisions (the most frequent vehicle accident) are caused by driver inattention, following too closely, external distraction (talking on cell phones, shaving, applying makeup, fiddling with the radio or CD player, kids, texting, etc.) and poor judgment. I doubt if we'll ever stop the madness [commercial product name removed]

Gregory Toussaint January 4, 2010 9:21 pm (Pacific time)

http://www.fdi-voice.org is the answer to texting while driving.

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