Anytime you get in the car there will be distractions, whether it’s a simple trip to the grocery store, school, work, or a longer road trip across many states. However, every time you get in the car it’s important to have an understanding of how to avoid the distractions. When you let your mind wander, you grab for your phone, or you take a bite of a burger, there’s a chance of the cars in front of you suddenly stopping without you noticing.

As of October 1st, 2017, a revision to a previous Oregon distracted driving law takes effect. The law makes it illegal to use a mobile device for any reason. When charged for a first-time offense, you could be facing a fine of up to $1,000. While the charges could be dropped if the defendant takes a distracted driving avoidance class, it’s still incredibly important to be aware of what is going on before you get behind the wheel.

At Donahue Law Firm, our team of criminal defense attorneys and DUII attorneys fight hard for our clients’ rights. If you were pulled over for distracted driving, we will take the time to fully understand the situation and will do our best to create a strong defense strategy. Don’t fight the courts alone, call a lawyer today for a consultation.

How to Avoid Distracted Driving

The DUII attorneys at Donahue Law Firm will be on your side, but we also want to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible while on the road. Here are some tips to keep you focused behind the wheel.

Emergencies Only

When you get a text while driving, criminal defense attorneys know that it’s incredibly tempting to look at your phone. You may say to yourself that you’re just looking, that you’ll respond later, but even the few seconds it takes to read a text is sometimes enough for an accident to happen. Using your cell phone while in the car should be for emergencies only, and it’s still a good idea to pull over before making phone calls or texting.

Pull Over When Tired

Late nights with friends, traveling for the holidays, or if you drive for a living, always pull over and rest if you are feeling drowsy. There are countless car games to play to try to stay awake, but when you’re on the road, it’s best to play it safe.

Ask Passengers For Help

Do you want to switch Spotify stations? Want to text your friend saying you’re 20 minutes away? Or do you want help opening up a granola bar wrapper? Whatever it may be, if there is someone else in the car who can help, ask them to. If there is anything that needs to be done that requires taking a hand, your eyes, or your attention, off the wheel or road, it could result in an accident and potentially a distracted driving charge.

Avoid Eating While Driving

It may sound easy enough, people have been doing it for years, but eating while driving can be just as distracting as texting while driving. For example, if you went through the drive-thru and got right back on the road, you’ll need to open up the bag, look for the straw, open the straw, find your burger, unwrap it, open it up to take the pickles off, try to eat the burger without the tomato falling out – all of these things take more focus than you may think. In the end, stopping to eat your food before getting back on the road is simply the easier – and safer – choice.

Get Ready Before You Drive

There are a variety of things that drivers can do to get ready before getting in the car:

  • Putting makeup on
  • Shaving
  • Brushing their teeth
  • Looking up directions
  • Getting the music ready
  • Texting someone to let them know you’re on the way

When you can do as much as possible before you even turn the car on, the safer the drive will be. Criminal defense and DUII attorneys understand that there may be extenuating circumstances, but when possible, get everything ready before you get on the road. And if you think your phone will be a distraction, whether it’s because of texting, phone calls, or changes in music, put it in the glove compartment or somewhere else you can’t reach it.

Prevent Distracting Passengers

Passengers can be helpful in certain situations, but they can also be the distraction. If passengers are being too rowdy and are distracting you from driving, it’s OK to tell them to calm down. It’s not only a precaution for yourself, but also for themselves and other drivers as well. Keep in mind that when you are behind the wheel, you are in control of the car and the environment inside the car.

Distracted Driving Penalties

  • If it’s a first offense and the distracted driving does not cause an accident, it is a Class B violation and can result in a fine of up to $1,000.
  • For a second offense, or the first offense does cause an accident, it is a Class A violation and can result in a fine of up to $2,500.
  • For a third offense, it is a Class B misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $2,500 and a potential six months in jail.

Oregon takes distracted driving seriously, so if you’re facing charges, don’t go to court alone. The criminal defense attorneys at Donahue Law Firm will look at the facts of the case and create a solid defense strategy. Call us today for a free consultation.