Oregon Distracted Driving Law’s Loopholes Raise Questions

The new Oregon distracted driving law that comes into effect Friday has been getting a lot of attention over the last week. This weekend, however, the state’s leading newspaper raised serious questions about whether the law already contains a fatal flaw.

An editorial in the Portland newspaper The Oregonian points out that the Oregon distracted driving law requiring drivers to use a hands-free device if they are talking on the phone while behind the wheel contains an exception for people “operating a motor vehicle in the scope of a person’s employment if operation of the motor vehicle is necessary for the person’s job.” The paper says the language was inserted at the insistence of business lobbyists, but worries that “necessary for a person’s job” is not defined anywhere in the legislation.

The loophole, the paper notes, “may well be big enough for real estate agents, contractors, FedEx drivers and just about anyone who needs a car for work.” Interpretation of the provision will lie with Oregon’s courts, and it may take some time for legal judgments under the new law to offer Oregon distracted driving attorneys guidance on what “necessary for the person’s job” means in practice.

The uncertainty likely to surround the new distracted driving law makes consulting with a Portland distracted driving attorney especially important if you are facing distracted driving charges brought under the new law, or have been the victim of an accident in which you believe the other party may have been in violation of Oregon’s cell phone ban. An Oregon distracted driving lawyer can be a key ally if you find yourself forced to navigate what, for Oregonians, is still relatively uncharted legal territory.

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