Distracted driving penalties in Oregon get tougher starting July 1

Image: KPTV

Distracted driving penalties for drivers in Oregon will start to add up.

Distracted driving is already a problem with deaths and serious injuries occurring regularly in crashes, but the cost for the driver will go up even more, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Starting July 1, offenses under the state's distracted driving law will begin counting toward elevated sanctions.

"Distracted driving is an epidemic in Oregon, and the consequences can be deadly," Transportation Safety Division Administrator Troy Costales said. "Everyone using the transportation system, drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians alike, should put away the distractions when traveling to help eliminate these tragedies."

A first offense, not contributing to a crash, will result in a fine up to $1,000 dollars.

A second offense, or first offense, if it contributed to a crash, will result in a fine up to $2,500 dollars.

A third offense in ten years will result in a fine up to $2,500 dollars and potential for six months in jail.

From 2012-2016 in Oregon, there were 10,814 crashes involving a distracted driver, resulting in 70 deaths and 16,503 injuries, according to ODOT.

"Distractions occur in many ways and Oregon's law stresses the need to put your electronic devices aside," Costales said. "What a driver must do is commit to keeping 'hands on the wheel, mind on the road.”

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