Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in Oregon

Oregon defines distracted driving as a driver whose attention is diverted from the primary task of driving. Distractions are broken down into four parts which include:

  • Manual, which means moving anything other than the steering wheel
  • Auditory is listening to something that is not related to driving
  • Cognitive, which means thinking about things other than driving
  • Visual is viewing or looking at something that is not the road

Oregon has strict laws when it comes to using cell phones and texting while driving. Drivers of any age are not allowed to use a handheld cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers who are under the age of 18 are not allowed to use cell phones of any type. There are a few exceptions to these laws.


  • Drivers of all ages and license statuses are not allowed to use a handheld cell phone
  • Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones of any type in any way
  • Texting and driving is illegal


  • Using a handheld cell phone while operating a vehicle for the purpose of their job
  • Public safety officers acting in the scope of their employment
  • Those providing emergency or public safety services
  • Using a hands free device for drivers over the age of 18
  • Operating an emergency vehicle or ambulance
  • Agricultural or farming operations
  • Calling for emergency or medical help

A law enforcement officer can pull a driver over if they see them violating the texting or cell phone law without the driver committing any other moving violation. Both the texting and cell phone laws are considered primary laws in Oregon.


  • Fines range from $160 to a maximum of $500

Oregon has strict laws when it comes to using handheld cell phones while driving as well as texting and driving. In 2014, there were 17,723 convictions for distracted driving, so law enforcement is really cracking down on the problem. It is best to put the cell phone away for the safety of everyone in the vehicle and other drivers on the road.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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