On January 1 Oregon joins the ranks of states banning texting while driving as well as the use of a hand-held cellphone. A recent blog and accompanying discussion on the New York Times website, however, asks an intriguing question for Oregon distracted drivers: are you willing to acknowledge that your own behavior behind the wheel is a problem?
The Times cites a recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation. As the paper paraphrases the results: “essentially, many people believe, ‘I can do it safely, but you’re a menace.’” This attitude, of course, is hardly confined to the question of telephone use. How many people do you know who are actually willing to say ‘I’m a bad driver’?
Examining this attitude is especially timely. Though the new Oregon distracted driving law allows for primary enforcement (i.e. the police can pull you over just for talking on a cellphone – they will not need to look for some other initial violation, such as speeding or driving recklessly) the fine for violating the law will be relatively low ($90). Moreover, in most states that already have these laws few people, in practice, get ticketed just for using a phone.
Legally speaking, of course, the answer is that Oregon distracted driving is – and ought to be – everyone’s problem. Distracted drivers make the road less safe for all of us. That is why civil liability is so important here. Above and beyond the criminal sanctions coming into force next month, people who drive while texting or talking on a handset need to know that they are exposing themselves to significant Oregon personal injury liability. A Portland distracted driving lawyer can help you recover the damages you deserve if you have been injured by an Oregon distracted driver.
Take the new law to heart both in your own driving, and in considering, after an accident, whether an Oregon personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation to which you may be entitled.
New York Times: Do multitasking drivers have double standards?