Oregon May Ratchet Up Penalties For Texting While Driving

Posted on February 13, 2013

Numerous states are considering laws that would ban the act of texting and driving.  But those aren’t the only measures designed to improve safety being considered.  Some states that already have texting bans on the books are exploring new laws that would place additional punishments on those who fail to refrain from texting even when doing so on the road is illegal.

Oregon is one such state that looks to bolster its current anti-texting laws.  Two separate bills are being considered by lawmakers in the House and Senate.  The Senate bill has the backing of the Senate president and yesterday received the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  That measure would increase maximum fines from the already high $500 to a whopping $1,000.  However, it should be noted that this fine level would only apply to the most egregious offenders.  Most drivers would face a presumptive fine of $260.

The House bill increases the maximum fine to an even greater level, ratcheting the penalty up to a whopping $2,000 fine.  The presumptive fine would be increased to $435.

Because it passed the Committee by a 3-2 margin, the bill will now be considered by the full Senate.  The two senators that voted against the measure in the Committee voiced worries that teens would be unfairly punished by the legislation.

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