In October 2017, Oregon enacted a statewide distracted driving law, also known as the cell phone law. Essentially, it says that it’s illegal to hold a mobile device while driving, which includes your cell phone, tablet, and even any handheld GPS system. While you can still use any hands-free devices (like your cell’s speakerphone mode) or technology that’s built into your vehicle, if you’re caught using a handheld device while behind the wheel, you’ll get stuck with a distracted driving violation.
The good news is just a few months after the distracted driving law went into effect, the state also enacted a way for people with a first-time distracted driving violation to get their fine waived. So if you just got hit with a ticket for using your phone or other device while driving in Oregon, you should know about this option to avoid the distracted driving fine.
The Oregon Department of Transportation allows certain drivers to get their distracted driving fine waived, but you have to meet two specifications:
Assuming those two things are true for you, you have the option to complete a distracted driving course to get your fine waived. And since the fine usually falls at about $260 but can range all the way up to $1,000 for your first offense, you’re probably eager to avoid that out-of-pocket cost.
You should know that completing a distracted driving course won’t remove the violation from your driving record. But it can help you get the fine waived, so at least you don’t have to deal with that expense along with potentially higher insurance costs.
The Oregon Department of Transportation approves specific providers to offer the course you need to get your fine waived. The good news is that some of those providers offer a distracted driving course both online and on-demand, meaning you can take it in your PJs at your house whenever it’s convenient for you.
More good news: the course doesn’t need to be overly time intensive, nor does it have to cost a lot of money. Your Oregon defensive driving course can be just an hour and a half long and can be as cheap at $30. And considering it can help you avoid hundreds of dollars of fines, most people agree that the cost of the course is well worth it.
Once you’ve finished your 90-minute online course and passed with at least an 80%, you get a Certificate of Completion. To get your distracted driving fine waived, you need to then submit that certificate to the court where you received your ticket. The exact submittal process can vary from court to court, so don’t hesitate to ask the clerk there for the specifics to make sure your fine gets waived.
One last thing you should know. You need to submit your Certificate of Completion to the court within 120 days of your conviction. If the clock is ticking for you, don’t wait to knock out your Oregon distracted drivers class.