Ag exemption for cellphone use while driving ends on Oct. 1
There’s a national movement to crack down on distracted driving, specifically driving while using a cellphone. This spring, Washington state legislators passed one of the most restrictive distracted driving laws in the country. And Oregon isn’t far behind.
Currently, there is an Oregon Appeals Court ruling on the books that gives farmers the ability to use cellphones for ag operations while driving – but this exemption will end on Oct. 1 due to a new law passed by the 2017 Oregon Legislature.
By passing HB 2597, lawmakers limited the use of handheld mobile devices while driving to ONLY emergency personnel. This means that farmers and tow truck drivers, among others, will no longer have the exemption they were granted with the court ruling.
“OFB will be looking for opportunities to address this issue in future sessions. But for now, it’s important that the ag community help spread the word that beginning on Oct. 1, only emergency personnel will be allowed to use a cellphone while driving,” said Jenny Dresler, OFB director of state public policy.
House Bill 2597 Sponsored by Representatives OLSON, LININGER, Senator BURDICK; Representatives BARKER, ESQUIVEL, RAYFIELD, WILSON (Presession filed.)
The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject to consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor’s brief statement of the essential features of the measure as introduced. Renames offense of operating motor vehicle while using mobile communication device as offense of operating motor vehicle while using mobile electronic device. Defines “mobile electronic device.” Provides for suspension of execution of fine for first offense if person completes distracted driving avoidance course. Increases penalty for offense. Further increases penalty if offense contributes to accident or is second or subsequent offense. Punishes by maximum fine of $2,000. 79th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY–2017 Regular Session
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