Lobbyists Drop Effort to Fight Distracted Driving Legislation

In what may be a sign of changing national attitudes, a push by Washington lobbyists to roll back distracted driving legislation by changing the terms of debate appears to have, as the New York Times puts it, “fallen apart.” This can only be seen as good news by everyone who believes that the new Oregon distracted driving law is an important public safety measure.

The Oregon distracted driving law, which went into effect January 1 of this year, bans most drivers from talking on or texting from a handheld cellphone while driving. There are some limited exceptions for emergencies and people in certain occupations but, broadly speaking, the goal is to get Oregon drivers to put down cellphones.

Apparently it is exactly this intention at which the DC lobbyists were taking aim. As the Times reports, the now-defunct “Drive Coalition” was a lobbyist-driven effort to round up clients among cellphone and auto companies. The Times reports that the group planned oppose measures like the Oregon distracted driving statute and instead “to push the idea of broader laws that would focus on car distractions in general.” The group backed off after an angry press conference Wednesday by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood who, the paper reports, decried “an effort he said was a threat to driver safety.”
As if to emphasize the point, New England TV station WPTZ, at almost the same time, broke the news that a Vermont mother ran over her own 10-year-old daughter Tuesday because she was distracted by her cellphone (Vermont bans texting behind the wheel but not the use of handheld cellphones).

Because the Oregon distracted driving law is still relatively new, many of the details surrounding it are still developing. That makes it especially important that you enlist the services of a Portland distracted driving attorney if you believe that another motorist’s illegal and reckless cellphone use was a factor in your Oregon auto accident.

New York Times: Lobbyists Scrap Plans for Distracted Driving Coalition

WPTZ.com: Police say mom runs over daughter’s legs

US Department of Transportation’s Distracted Driving Website