***** Changes to Cell Phone Law *****
1. The purpose of the law
Focus on driving and put away the distractions.
2. Important dates
* October 1, 2017: is when the law goes into effect.
* January 1, 2018: is when the court has the option to waive the fine for first-time offenders who attend a Distracted Driving Avoidance course.
3. Basic Requirement
It is illegal to drive while holding or using an electronic device (e.g. cell phone, tablet, GPS, laptop).
4. More on Exclusions, Exceptions and Affirmative Defenses a. Excluded from the law
* Use of device installed in vehicle (e.g. factory-installed touch-screen; aftermarket CB radios).
* When parked safely: stopped at the side of the road; in a designated parking spot; utility truck in roadway parked to do maintenance work.
- It is NOT legal to use the device when stopped at a stop light, stop sign, in traffic, etc.
* Use of a single touch or swipe to activate or deactivate the device.
* Two-way or CB-type radio used by school bus driver, commercial motor vehicle driver, utility truck operator in scope of employment.
c. Affirmative Defenses
* When using hands-free device, if 18 years of age or older.
* While providing or summoning medical help and no one else is available to make the call.
* While operating an ambulance or emergency vehicle, in scope of employment.
* Police, fire, EMS providers in the scope of employment, (can include when in a personal vehicle if, for example, while responding to an emergency call).
* HAM radio operators, age 18 years or older.
* First offense, not contributing to a crash: Class B violation.
- Presumptive fine $260.
- Minimum fine is $130; maximum fine is $1,000.
* Second offense, or first offense, if it contributed to a crash: Class A violation.
- Presumptive Fine $435.
- minimum fine is $220; maximum is $2,500.
* Third offense in ten years: Class B misdemeanor.
- Minimum fine $2,000 (specified in bill).
- Maximum fine is $6,250.
- Could be one year in jail
6. Course for First Time Offenders
* For a first offense that does not contribute to a crash, the court may offer to suspend the fine if the driver completes and pays for an approved Distracted Driving Avoidance course, and shows proof to the court, within four months. (The court may grant extension for good cause.)
- ODOT establishes course standards, maintains list of approved providers, and gets that list to courts.
* Court may schedule a hearing to determine if person successfully completed the course. If the violator successfully completes the course, the court must enter a sentence of "discharge." Only the fine is suspended - the violation will still be recorded on the offender's driving record. (The driving record is how a court or law enforcement officer determines if this is a repeat offense.)