Today, the Traffic Safety Unit will be out in the high crash corridors identified in the Vision Zero Plan, looking for distracted driving.
When someone diverts their attention from driving to something else, they are in the danger zone – for crashes, and for citations. It is illegal in Oregon to drive while holding or using an electronic device (e.g. cell phone, tablet, GPS, laptop). There are some exceptions, but for the most part, it’s best just to turn off your device when you are driving. Eugene Police Traffic Safety Unit is conduct several enforcements this month. This is funded by an Oregon Impact Grant from Oregon Department of Transportation. This traffic safety message and operation also supports City of Eugene Vision Zero goal. Vision Zero is an approach to transportation safety that aims to eliminate deaths and life-changing injuries caused by traffic crashes.
Here are a few cases where the law does not apply:
When using hands-free or built-in devices, if you are 18 years of age or older.
Use of a single touch or swipe to activate or deactivate the device.
When parked safely, i.e., stopped in a designated parking spot. - However, it is NOT legal to use the device when stopped at a stop light, stop sign, in traffic, etc.
While providing or summoning medical help and no one else is available to make the call.
Police, fire, EMS providers in the scope of employment, (can include when in a personal vehicle if, for example, when responding to an emergency call).
To truck or bus drivers following the federal rules for CDL holders.
When using a two-way radio if you are a CB user, school bus driver, utility truck driver in scope of employment.
If you are a HAM radio operator age 18 years or older.
A first offense that doesn’t contribute to a crash is a Class B violation and the Eugene fine is $300 or maximum fine of $1,000. A second offense, or if the first offense contributes to a crash, is Class A violation with a fine of $500 or maximum fine of $2,500. A third offense in ten years is a Class B misdemeanor and could result in a $6,250 fine and up to one year in jail.
For a first offense that does not contribute to a crash, the court may suspend the fine* if the driver completes an approved distracted driving avoidance class, and shows proof to the court, within four months. *Only the fine is suspended – the violation will still be recorded on the offender’s driving record.