Rules of the Road for Drivers

ORS 811.507
Operating motor vehicle while using mobile electronic device

  • exceptions
  • penalty


(1)

As used in this section:
(a)(A) “Driving” means operating a motor vehicle on a highway or premises open to the public, and while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device or other momentary delays.

(B)

“Driving” does not include when the motor vehicle has stopped in a location where it can safely remain stationary and:

(i)

Is pulled over on the side of, or is pulled off, a roadway;

(ii)

Is in a designated parking space; or

(iii)

Is required to park in the roadway to conduct construction or utility maintenance work.

(b)

“Hands-free accessory” means an attachment or built-in feature for or an addition to a mobile electronic device that gives a person the ability to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times while using the device or requires only the minimal use of a finger, via a swipe or tap, to activate or deactivate a function of the device.

(c)

“Livestock” has the meaning given that term in ORS 609.125 (Definition of “livestock).
(d)(A) “Mobile electronic device” means an electronic device that is not permanently installed in a motor vehicle.

(B)

“Mobile electronic device” includes but is not limited to a device capable of text messaging, voice communication, entertainment, navigation, accessing the Internet or producing electronic mail.

(e)

“Using a mobile electronic device” includes but is not limited to using a mobile electronic device for text messaging, voice communication, entertainment, navigation, accessing the Internet or producing electronic mail.

(2)

A person commits the offense of driving a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device if the person, while driving a motor vehicle on a highway or premises open to the public:

(a)

Holds a mobile electronic device in the person’s hand; or

(b)

Uses a mobile electronic device for any purpose.

(3)

This section does not apply to a person:

(a)

Who is employed as a commercial motor vehicle driver, or as a school bus driver, and is using a mobile electronic device within the scope of the person’s employment if the use is permitted under regulations promulgated pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 31136;

(b)

Who is employed as a driver of a vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of at least 10,001 pounds and is using a mobile electronic device within the scope of the person’s employment and as required under regulations promulgated pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 31137;

(c)

Who is operating a two-way radio device that transmits radio communication transmitted by a station operating on an authorized frequency within the business, citizens’ or family radio service bands in accordance with rules of the Federal Communications Commission while transporting forest products, or while operating a vehicle to assist in logging operations, within the scope of the person’s employment;

(d)

Who is using a two-way radio device while operating a school bus or school activity vehicle within the scope of the person’s employment;

(e)

Who is using a two-way radio device or operating a two-way radio device that transmits radio communication transmitted by a station operating on an authorized frequency within the business, citizens’ or family radio service bands in accordance with rules of the Federal Communications Commission while operating a vehicle owned or contracted by a utility for the purpose of installing, repairing, maintaining, operating or upgrading utility service, including but not limited to natural gas, electricity, water or telecommunications, within the scope of the person’s employment;

(f)

Who is using a two-way radio device while operating a vehicle wider than the lane of travel, a vehicle transporting livestock or a vehicle requiring a slow-moving vehicle emblem under ORS 815.110 (Requirements for and use of slow-moving vehicle emblem), and the use of the device facilitates the safe operation of the vehicle; or

(g)

Who is using a two-way radio device while operating a pilot or safety vehicle used to assist the safe movement of a vehicle described in paragraph (f) of this subsection, and the use of the device facilitates the safe movement of the vehicle described in paragraph (f) of this subsection.

(4)

It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution of a person under this section that the person:

(a)

Used the mobile electronic device to communicate if the person was summoning or providing medical or other emergency help if no other person in the vehicle was capable of summoning help;

(b)

Was 18 years of age or older and was using a hands-free accessory;

(c)

Was driving an ambulance or emergency vehicle while acting within the scope of the person’s employment;

(d)

Was a police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services provider and was acting within the scope of the person’s employment;

(e)

Was 18 years of age or older, held a valid amateur radio operator license issued or any other license issued by the Federal Communications Commission and was operating an amateur radio;

(f)

Was operating a two-way radio device that transmits radio communication transmitted by a station operating on an authorized frequency within the business, citizens’ or family radio service bands in accordance with rules of the Federal Communications Commission to summon medical or other emergency help; or

(g)

Was using a medical device.

(5)

The offense described in this section, driving a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device, is:

(a)

Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, for a person’s first conviction, a Class B traffic violation.

(b)

For a person’s first conviction, if commission of the offense contributes to an accident described in ORS 811.720 (When accident must be reported to Department of Transportation), a Class A traffic violation.

(c)

For a person’s second conviction within a 10-year period following the date of the person’s first conviction, a Class A traffic violation.

(d)

For a person’s third or subsequent conviction within a 10-year period preceding the date of the person’s current conviction, a Class B misdemeanor.

(6)

In addition to any other sentence that may be imposed, the court shall impose a minimum fine of $2,000 on a person convicted of a Class B misdemeanor under subsection (5)(d) of this section.

(7)

For purposes of this section, sentences for two or more convictions that are imposed in the same sentencing proceeding are considered to be one sentence.
(8)(a) For a person’s first conviction of driving a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device, the court may suspend the fine to be imposed under subsection (5)(a) of this section on the condition that the person, within 120 days of sentencing:

(A)

Complete at the person’s own expense a distracted driving avoidance course approved by the Department of Transportation under ORS 811.508 (Distracted driving avoidance course); and

(B)

Provide proof of completion to the court.

(b)

The court may schedule a hearing to determine whether the person successfully completed the distracted driving avoidance course.

(c)

If the person has successfully completed the requirements described in paragraph (a) of this subsection, the court shall enter a sentence of discharge. Notwithstanding ORS 153.021 (Minimum fines), a sentence of discharge imposed under this paragraph may not include a fine.

(d)

If the person has not successfully completed the requirements described in paragraph (a) of this subsection, the court shall:

(A)

Grant the person an extension based on good cause shown; or

(B)

Impose the fine under subsection (5)(a) of this section.

(9)

The department shall place signs on state highways to notify drivers that it is unlawful to drive a motor vehicle on the highways of this state while using a mobile electronic device and violators are subject to criminal penalties. [2007 c.870 §2; 2009 c.834 §1; 2011 c.530 §1; 2013 c.757 §1; 2017 c.629 §§1,2; 2018 c.32 §1]
Note: Section 5, chapter 629, Oregon Laws 2017, provides:

Source

Last accessed
Mar. 11, 2023