Police plan cellphone enforcement

On June 19 the Hood River Police Department will be stepping up law enforcement against drivers’ cellphone use while operating a motor vehicle.

As of Jan. 1, 2010, the Oregon Revised Statute 811.507 was amended to ban the use of mobile communication devices while operating a motor vehicle. The statute reads that “A person commits the offense of operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile communication device if the person, while operating a motor vehicle on a highway, uses a mobile communication device.” A mobile communication device is a text messaging device or a wireless two-way communication device designed to receive and transmit voice or text communication.

Driving while using a cellphone is a primary offense — this means a police officer may stop a driver solely for using a cellphone without using a hands-free accessory. This violation carries a maximum $110 fine.

Studies have shown one in 20 traffic accidents in the United States involve a driver talking on a cellphone or texting. It is calculated that nearly 2,600 people die each year as a result of cellphone use while operating a motor vehicle. Another 330,000 are believed to be injured in accidents.

The Hood River Police Department asks that drivers act responsibly while using cellphones. If you must take a call, please pull to the side of the road if you do not have a hands-free device.

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