HB 2597B VOTE:NO – Governor signed
Status (overview) of bill:https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Measures/Overview/HB2597
This bill renames offense of operating motor vehicle while using mobile communication device as offense of operating motor vehicle while using mobile electronic device to penalize all uses of mobil devices. Creates a distracted driving avoidance course and program.
Personal Choice and Responsibility
The measure allows the court to suspend imposition of a fine and enter a sentence of discharge when a person successfully completes a distracted driving avoidance course.
The measure expands the offense by removing some of the exemptions under current law and increases the penalty for a first conviction to a Class B traffic violation, and Class A traffic violation for a subsequent offense within 10 years or if the first offense contributes to an accident. Completion of a distracted driving avoidance course will likely reduce the amount of money that circuit courts collect
This offense started in 2009 as a Class D traffic violation, raised to Class C in 2013, but courts ruled it didn't include holding a phone to listen to music. Task Force proposed broadening the definition of device usage and eliminate certain exceptions such as use of mobile electronic device for the purpose of farming or agricultural operations or utility vehicle for employment. It also increases the penalty. ODOT doesn't rate accidents if a device were the cause so this is based on more government control and increased penalty fees that isn't justified. The increase in accidents can be justified by increased population and increased tourism. Increases government by developing and presenting Distracted Driving Avoidance course and standards.