A recent announcement by the Hillsboro police department, as reported in The Oregonian, comes as a welcome addition to the summer: the department plans to “have designated officers focused on distracted driving throughout the summer.”
Hillsboro officers working specially designated overtime shifts (funded, the paper notes, by an outside grant) will focus their attention on a broad range of behind-the-wheel distractions. That means that in addition to enforcing violations of Oregon’s distracted driving law, they will also be on the lookout “for people who are distracted by other activities, such as eating and reading.”
“All distractions endanger the driver, passengers and bystanders,” the newspaper quotes a department spokesman saying. Officers, he said, will regularly conduct the extra enforcement patrols between now and September.
The extra enforcement is welcome as Oregon distracted driving continues to be a problem throughout the state (and, indeed, around the country). As I have said before, talking on the phone while driving a car is one of those things most people believe others are poor at but that they themselves do well. A small mountain of data indicates that this is not the case.
One of the unique things about driving is the dangers it involves not only for the driver but also for others. Obviously, cars have gotten safer over the generations. That, however, does not change the fact that they are still high-powered vehicles capable of doing a huge amount of damage with operated negligently. An Oregon distracted driving lawyer sees cases like these far too often – instances in which the urge for convenience tops common sense and responsible conduct, leading to Oregon car wrecks, injuries to children and many serious injuries to the brain and spinal cord. It is good to know that at least in one Oregon community this summer there will be some extra officers working to keep everyone in cars, and along the roads, safe.