Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Wants Oregon Transportation Commission to Support Ban on Cell Phone Use While Driving

The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC) has written a letter to the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) calling on it to push for a ban on cell phone use while driving and increase its efforts to notify the public about the dangers of distracted driving. The OBPAC not only wants the OTC to support the National Safety Council’s call that all cell phone while operating a motor vehicle be barred, but it wants details about the hazards of distracted driving to be added to Oregon’s DMV manual.

Oregon doesn’t have any laws regarding adults and cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle. The state, however, does currently ban drivers younger than 18 from text messaging or talking on a cell phone while driving.

Next week, the House Transportation Committee will hear House Bill 2377, which bans the use of “mobile communication devices” when people are driving their motor vehicles. The bill makes talking or texting on a cell phone illegal—albeit only a secondary offense, which means an Oregon police officer has to catch the offender committing another offense first. However, the law doesn’t apply to hands-free devices.

According to a 2006 University of Utah study, people who talk on cell phones while driving exhibit behavior similar to that of motorists who are drunk driving. Among the study’s findings:

• Hands-free and handheld held cell phones impair driving to an equal degree.
• Drivers who talk on cell phones tend to drive slower and step on the brakes slower than drivers who aren’t using cell phones.
• Motorists who talked on cell phones while driving exhibited 24% more variation in following distance and were 19% slower when it came to accelerating back to normal speed after braking than drivers who weren’t talking on cell phones.
• Drunk drivers tended to drive slowly but more aggressively than sober drivers. They were also slower to brake and did so with 23% more force.

If you were injured in an Oregon car accident because another motorist was driving drunk, talking or texting on a cell phone, fell asleep behind the wheel, or was impaired, distracted, or negligent in any other way, you may have grounds for filing an Oregon personal injury lawsuit.

Oregon bike/ped committee urges state to ban cell phones while driving, BikePortland.org, April 17, 2009
Drivers on Cell Phones are as bad as drunks, U News Center, June 29, 2006
Related Web Resources:
Oregon Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Oregon.gov
National Safety Council

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