Cell phone ban for young drivers approved in Oregon

| 8/20/2007

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has signed a bill into law that enables law enforcement in Oregon to pull over the state’s youngest drivers for using cell phones. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2008.

The new law, previously HB2872, prohibits drivers under 18 from using any cell phone, pager or BlackBerry-type device while at the wheel. Police could only ticket offenders for chatting on the phone after pulling them over for another traffic offense.

Rep. Greg Macpherson, D-Lake Oswego, the bill’s author, said the intent of the legislation is to make sure new drivers stay off their cell phones. Violators would face up to $90 fines.

At least a dozen states already ban or restrict young drivers from using cell phones. Currently, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have the only statewide laws restricting hand-held cell phone use for all drivers. In 2008, California and Washington are slated to implement their own rule. No state prohibits hands-free usage for all drivers.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Oregon in 2007, click here.