Police cracking down on distracted driving

"$265 is a lot of money for just a quick text or quick phone call," Officer Matthew Carpenter said.

Posted: Apr. 5, 2019 7:03 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. -- April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and police departments are cracking down.

Officer Matthew Carpenter works with the Ashland Police Department. He patrols the downtown area, and says he sees hundreds of distracted driving violations a week. 

Through the pouring rain Friday afternoon, Carpenter pulls over a black Mazda 3. He writes a ticket after he saw the driver talking on his phone while driving.

"It's so common; I see it frequently--multiple times every day, especially when people are texting and really taking their eyes off the road," Carpenter says of how often he sees violations. 

Carpenter says he had a friend injured by a distracted driver, and that he couldn't continue to do his day job afterward.

"He couldn't live the normal life that he did before getting hit by this girl who was on her cell phone," Carpenter says. 

Carpenter says a first time offense will cost you $265. The fines only go up each time you're ticketed.

Oregon's cell phone law says you can't use a mobile electronic device unless it's a hand-free device. If you're younger than 18, you can't use any device, whether it's hands free or not. There are some exceptions. 

"$265 is a lot of money for just a quick text or quick phone call," Carpenter said. 

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