PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon lawmakers have raised fines for distracted drivers.
Fines for using your phone illegally while driving went up starting July 1, 2018. For the first offense the fine is up to $1,000. The second offense brings a fine up to $2,500 and the third time within ten years brings another $2,500 fine and the possibility of six months in jail.
“Distracted driving, especially with cell phones, is a major problem out on the roads. It's contributing to an awful lot of crashes out there,” said Don Hamilton, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
The distracted driving law applies to tablets and GPS as well.
Drivers can still use their phones hands-free. It's also legal to use it in a mount on the dash as long as you only touch or swipe it to start or end functions.
Some drivers told KGW they use their phones while driving, even though they know it's illegal.
“Yeah, unfortunately, I have. Yeah. I still do it. I've never been caught,” said Carissa Clarkson, visiting Portland from Oakland, CA.
Many said they are glad to see lawmakers hitting distracted drivers with big fines.
“I think its great because i see so many people driving and talking, especially when I’m crossing streets and not paying attention to what they should be doing,” said Michael Leahy.