Cell Phone Driving Laws

Cell Phones, Radios and Texting

Oregon's cell phone law changed effective January 1, 2012, to further restrict the use of handheld communications by drivers. Here are the basics of the current law.

Motorist with cell phone

Drivers must always use a hands-free device when using their cell phone.

Exceptions to this law are only under the following circumstances:

  • to summon emergency help if no other person in the vehicle is capable of doing so
  • if operating a vehicle for farming or agricultural operations
  • if in the scope of the driver's employment, the driver is operating an ambulance or emergency vehicle, roadside tow or assistance vehicle, or utility vehicle
  • if the driver is using an amateur radio and holds a valid radio operator's license
  • if the driver is operating a two-way radio communication device (read the fine print)
  • if in the scope of the driver's employment, the driver is operating a one-way communication device (such as a Nextel or other direct connect device) while providing transit services to persons with disabilities or senior citizens or while participating in public safety or emergency service activities

No driver of any age is allowed to text while driving.

Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using all mobile communications devices, whether or not hands-free (except in emergencies).  

Violating this law is a primary offense, so police can stop a driver just for violating this law (with no other offenses). The minimum fine is $110.

(Sheriff's Office News: Vol_8 Issue_1-January, 2012)