Jan. 1 Oregon cell phone law changes

On Jan. 1, 2012, Oregon’s  law regarding the usage of cell phones while driving is changing.
The 76th Oregon Legislative Assembly, during its 2011 regular session, made changes to ORS 811.507 with regard  to the exemption of requiring a hands-free device when using a cell phone.

House Bill 3186, which was signed by the Governor and goes into effect on Jan. 1,, removed the often misunderstood “employment related” exemption to using a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device.  The revised law requires all drivers to use a hands-free device to talk on a cell phone unless they are a person:
•summoning medical or other emergency help if no other person in the vehicle is capable of summoning help,    •using a mobile communication device for the purpose of farming or agricultural operations,
•operating an ambulance or emergency vehicle,
•operating a motor vehicle while providing public safety services or emergency services,
•operating a motor vehicle while acting in the scope of the person’s employment as a public safety officer,
•operating a tow vehicle or roadside assistance vehicle while acting in the scope of the person’s employment,
•operating a vehicle for the purpose of installing, repairing, maintaining, operating, or upgrading utility services.

Divers are reminded that:
•a hands-free device must allow a driver to maintain both hands on the steering wheel,        • drivers under 18 years of age are still prohibited from using a cell phone while driving,
•texting and driving is still unlawful for any age driver.
Drivers caught violating ORS 811.507 could face a fine of $142.

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