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Distracted Driving

The Oregon Department of Transportation is actively working to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. This is being done through public service ads, education and agency partnerships.

​Distraction occurs when a driver diverts attention to something not related to driving that uses the driver's eyes, ears or hands.

There are four types of driver distraction:

  • Visual - looking at something other than the road
  • Auditory - hearing something not related to driving
  • Manual - handling something other than the steering wheel
  • Cognitive - thinking about something other than driving

Most distractions involve more than one of these types, both a sensory - eyes, ears or touch - and a mental component.

  • ​“Distracted Driving” is a dangerous behavior for drivers, passengers, and non-occupants alike. Distraction is a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention from the driving task to focus on some other activity instead (per NHTSA).
  • From 2013-2017 there were 12,006 fatal and injury crashes involving a distracted driver resulting in 95 fatalities and 18,429 injuries caused by crashes in Oregon (all ages).
  • From 2013-2017 there were 1,089 fatal and injury crashes involving a driver (all ages) reported to have been using a cell phone at the time of the crash. This resulted in 20 fatalities and 1,557 people injured.
  • From 2013-2017 there were 112 fatal and injury crashes involving a driver age 16-18 reported to have been using a cell phone at the time of the crash. This resulted in 0 fatalities and 158 people injured.
  • From 2013-2017 there were 73,572 convictions for using a mobile electronic device offense.

Convictions for using a mobile electronic device 2013-2017

2013 - 21,520
2014 - 17,723
2015 - 15,264
2016 - 10,317
2017 -   8,748

Total:  73,572

New legislation and enforcement in 2017 and 2018 has resulted in 13,086 mobile electronic convictions in 2018.

  • From 2013-2017 there were 32 fatal and injury crashes involving, but not limited to a pedestrian using a cell phone. This resulted in 2 fatalities and 30 injuries.
  • From 2013-2017 there were 10 fatal and injury crashes involving, but not limited to a pedal-cyclist, using a cell phone. This resulted in 0 fatalities and 10 people injured.
  • From 2013-2017 there were 224 fatal and injury work zone distracted driving crashes. This resulted in 4 fatalities and 381 people injured.
  *2017 data is preliminary and subject to change

Distracted Driving Task Force Report
Bend - Distracted Driving Survey 2015 Complete Final Report
Roseburg - Distracted Driving Survey 2016 Final Report

Also referred to as the cell phone law, went into effect October 1, 2017

Oregon’s basic law says it is illegal to drive while holding or using an electronic device (e.g. cell phone, tablet, GPS, laptop). As of January 1, 2018, courts have the ability to waive the fine for first-time offenders who attend an approved Distracted Driving Avoidance course. There are some exceptions, but for the most part, it’s best to just turn off your device when you are driving.

Here are a few cases where the new law does not apply:

  • When using hands-free or built-in devices, if you are 18 years of age or older.
  • Use of a single touch or swipe to activate or deactivate the device.
  • When parked safely, i.e., stopped in a designated parking spot. It is NOT legal to use the device when stopped at a stop light, stop sign, in traffic, etc.
  • While providing or summoning medical help and no one else is available to make the call.
  • Tow truck or bus drivers following the federal rules for CDL holders.
  • When using a two-way radio if you are a CB user, school bus driver, utility truck driver in scope of employment.
  • If you are a HAM radio operator age 18 years or older.

Violations updated, too

A first offense that doesn’t contribute to a crash is a Class B violation with a maximum fine of $1,000. A second offense, or if the first offense contributes to a crash, is Class A violation with a maximum fine of $2,000. A third offense in ten years is a Class B misdemeanor and could result in a maximum fine of $2,500 fine and could be 6 months in jail.

For a first offense that does not contribute to a crash, the court may suspend the fine* if the driver completes an approved distracted driving avoidance class, and shows proof to the court, within four months. *Only the fine is suspended – the violation will still be recorded on the offender’s driving record.

For more details, please see the Distracted Driving Law Fact Sheet


A Distracted Driving Avoidance Course (DDAC) may be available to drivers who have received a citation for distracted driving. A judge will have a list of approved providers and may recommend that a driver take the course. It is up to the judge’s discretion which provider is chosen. The court may suspend the fine (not the violation) if, within 4 months, the driver completes an approved distracted driving avoidance course. If you have been issued a citation and you are interested in taking a course, please contact the agency that issued the citation.

Important Notes:

•  A distracted driving avoidance course is only for a person’s first conviction of driving a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device.

•  The course must be completed within 120 days of sentencing (the date of conviction).

•  The course must be 90 minutes or more in length.

•  A course may be either in the classroom or online.

•  Participants must pass the course with a minimum of 80%.

•  The DDAC is not a diversion as the violation will not be removed from the driver’s record.
Related Documents
Distracted Driving Avoidance Course Draft Oregon Administrative Rules
Distracted Driving Avoidance Course Curriculum Checklist
Distracted Driving Avoidance Course Approved Provider Application

Alexxyss TherwhangerAlexxyss Therwhanger, age 19, was killed in a car crash on February 19, 2016 while she was driving home in eastern Oregon. Alexxyss was using her cell phone and lost control of her car, colliding with an oncoming vehicle and severely injuring two other people. Alexxyss would have just turned 20 on May 28, 2016. 

To make drivers aware of the serious consequences of distracted driving, the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon State Police have produced a distracted driving TV PSA. The PSA features Alexxyss' mother in an effort to persuade drivers to pay attention and to drive without distractions, especially cell phones.
Alexxyss’ crashed car was enclosed in a trailer to spread awareness about distracted driving and encourage others to drive without distractions. The distracted driving trailer is available statewide, for more information contact 541-963-1387.  

The Oregon Department of Transportation is actively working to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. This is being done through public services ads, education and agency partnerships.

The Transportation Safety Division offers free booklets, brochures, posters, stickers, and other materials designed to promote safe driving, biking and walking. 
Visit the Transportation Safety Print Materials page to see a full listing of available transportation safety materials.

Thumbs Down - Distracted Driving - Digital format only

Facebook Ads
Park Your Phone - Purse - Digital format only
Park Your Phone - Backpack - Digital format only
Alone Time Mockup - Digital format only
Ignore Me Mockup - Digital format only
Oh No She Diint Mockup - Digital format only
One Bad Call Mockup - Digital format only

Caution Avoid This Kind of Rollover Minutes - Digital format only 

She Never Knew 12.875 x 47.25 - Digital format only
Distracted Driving is a Killer - Digital format only
Hang Up on the Road - Stock #330013

Print Ad
One Call Can Wreck Your Day - Digital format only

Digital Ads
Park Your Phone - Airport PDX Backpack
Park Your Phone - Airport PDX Computer Bag
Park Your Phone - Eugene & Bend Backpack
Park Your Phone - Eugene & Bend Computer Bag

Park Your Phone - 30 seconds - mp3
Park Your Phone - 60 seconds - mp3
Hands on the Wheel - 30 seconds (Spanish) - mp3
Time Apart - 30 seconds - mp3

Transit Ads
Last Selfie Ever 255 x 29 - Digital format only
She Never Knew 322 x 29 - Digital format only

ODOT Distracted Driving Safety Campaign Video Playlist - YouTube

Web Ad
Last Selfie Ever 300 x 250 Digital format only
Kelly Kapri 
Program Manager
Transportation Safety Division
ODOT-TLC Building, MS 3
4040 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302-1142


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