New law prohibits teen use of cell phones while driving

New driver? Just learning to drive? You’ll want to put your cell phone away. A new law, House Bill 2872, goes into effect Jan. 1 prohibiting a driver less than 18 years of age who holds a provisional driver license, student permit or instructional permit from using mobile communication devices – like cell phones – while driving. The ban includes text messaging devices and wireless, two-way communication devices designed to receive and transmit voice or text communication (both hand-held and hands-free).

The only exceptions are if the driver is summoning emergency assistance
or engaged in farming activities. The new law, recommended by the
National Transportation Safety Board, serves as an enhancement to
Oregon’s graduated driver license program by removing another potential
distraction. Oregon’s program for young drivers already limits some
distractions, such as who can be in the vehicle and what hours teens
can drive.
   
Oregon’s teen driving program, with its various
limitations, has reduced the number of fatal and injury crashes
involving teen drivers by more than 40 percent since it was
implemented. According to the NTSB, a ban on cell phones for teens may
further reduce the number of crashes involving teen drivers.
   
If
a teen is operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile communication
device, it is a Class D traffic violation with a $97 fine. A conviction
is also placed on the driver’s record and counts toward the driver
improvement program and/or the habitual offenders program.
   
ODOT’s
Transportation Safety Division is working with driver education
programs and DMV field offices around the state to educate teens and
parents about the new law. If you or your teen driver needs more
information about the law, visit the Oregon Legislature Web site,
www.leg.state.or.us or visit DMV’s Web site, www.OregonDMV.com

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