2015 ORS 811.507¹
Operating motor vehicle while using mobile communication device
  • exceptions
  • penalty

(1) As used in this section:

(a) "Hands-free accessory" means an attachment or built-in feature for or an addition to a mobile communication device, whether or not permanently installed in a motor vehicle, that when used allows a person to maintain both hands on the steering wheel.

(b) "Mobile communication device" means a text messaging device or a wireless, two-way communication device designed to receive and transmit voice or text communication.

(2) A person commits the offense of operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile communication device if the person, while operating a motor vehicle on a highway, uses a mobile communication device.

(3) This section does not apply to a person who activates or deactivates a mobile communication device or a function of the device or who uses the device for voice communication if the person:

(a) Is summoning medical or other emergency help if no other person in the vehicle is capable of summoning help;

(b) Is using a mobile communication device for the purpose of farming or agricultural operations;

(c) Is operating an ambulance or emergency vehicle;

(d) Is 18 years of age or older and is using a hands-free accessory;

(e) Is operating a motor vehicle while providing public safety services or emergency services;

(f) Is operating a motor vehicle while acting in the scope of the person’s employment as a public safety officer, as defined in ORS 348.270 (Scholarships for children of public safety officers);

(g) Is operating a tow vehicle or roadside assistance vehicle while acting in the scope of the person’s employment;

(h) Holds a valid amateur radio operator license issued or any other license issued by the Federal Communications Commission and is operating an amateur radio;

(i) Is operating a two-way radio device that transmits radio communication transmitted by a station operating on an authorized frequency within the citizens’ or family radio service bands in accordance with rules of the Federal Communications Commission;

(j) Is operating a vehicle owned or contracted by a utility for the purpose of installing, repairing, maintaining, operating or upgrading utility service, including but not limited to natural gas, electricity, water or telecommunications, while acting in the scope of the person’s employment; or

(k) Is using a function of the mobile communication device that allows for only one-way voice communication while the person is:

(A) Operating a motor vehicle in the scope of the person’s employment;

(B) Providing transit services; or

(C) Participating in public safety or emergency service activities.

(4) The offense described in this section, operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile communication device, is a Class C traffic violation.

(5) The Department of Transportation shall place signs on state highways to notify drivers that violation of this section is subject to a maximum fine of $500. [2007 c.870 §2; 2009 c.834 §1; 2011 c.530 §1; 2013 c.757 §1]

Note: 811.507 (Operating motor vehicle while using mobile communication device) was added to and made a part of the Oregon Vehicle Code by legislative action but was not added to ORS chapter 811 or any series therein. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.

Notes of Decisions

Where defendant was looking at mobile communica­tion device while driving but did not speak into device or push any buttons on device, defendant did not use device under this sec­tion, which prohibits only talking and texting on mobile communica­tion device while driving. State v. Rabanales-Ramos, 273 Or App 228, 359 P3d 250 (2015)

Chapter 811

See also annota­tions under ORS chapter 483 in permanent edi­tion.

Notes of Decisions

Under Former Similar Statute

A party in viola­tion of a motor vehicle statute is neg­li­gent as a matter of law unless he introduces evidence from which the trier of fact could find that he was acting as a reasonably prudent per­son under the circumstances. Barnum v. Williams, 264 Or 71, 504 P2d 122 (1972)

Law Review Cita­tions

Under Former Similar Statute

10 WLJ 207 (1974)

  • Newberg Graphic / Huntley Miller, Jan 29, 2011
    “Oregon's cell phone law requires the use of a hands-free accessory while using a mobile communica­tion device and operating a vehicle . . .”
  • Lincoln County News, Oct 4, 2010
    “. . . unlike the seat belt law under which you have to doing something else wrong in order to be pulled over, talking on a cell phone without a bluetooth or ear piece WILL put flashing lights in your rear-view mirror for that viola­tion alone.”
  • BikePortland.org / Jonathon Maus, Feb 9, 2010
    “Since Oregon enacted their new cell phone law on January 1st, many people have asked me if it applies to people riding bicycles. . . .”

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 811—Rules of the Road for Drivers, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors811.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 811, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano811.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.