Change in Cell Phone Law

Published: 1/1/2012

On January 1, 2012, the law regarding the usage of cell phones while driving is changing in the state of Oregon.

The 76th Oregon Legislative Assembly, during its 2011 regular session, made changes to ORS 811.507 with regards to the exemption of requiring a hands-free device when using a cell phone.

House Bill 3186, which was signed by the Governor and goes into effect on January 1st, removed the often misunderstood “employment related” exemption to using a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device. The revised law requires all drivers to use a hands-free device to talk on a cell phone unless they are a person:

  • A person who is summoning medical or other emergency help if no other person in the vehicle is capable of summoning help;
  • A person using a mobile communication device for the purpose of farming or agricultural operations;
  • A person operating an ambulance or emergency vehicle;
  • A person operating a motor vehicle while providing public safety services or emergency services;
  • A person operating a motor vehicle while acting in the scope of the person’s employment as a public safety officer;
  • A person operating a tow vehicle or roadside assistance vehicle while acting in the scope of the person’s employment;
  • A person operating a vehicle for the purpose of installing, repairing, maintaining, operating, or upgrading utility services.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office would like to remind drivers that:
  • a hands-free device must allow a driver to maintain both hands on the steering wheel;
  • drivers under 18 years of age are still prohibited from using a cell phone while driving;
  • texting and driving is still unlawful for any age driver.

Drivers caught violating ORS 811.507 could face a fine of $142.

Attachment/Link: HB 3186 Fact Sheet

Attachment/Link: Oregon Revised Statutes