April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month, and The Dalles police officers and state troopers will be increasing patrols on Thursday, April 11, looking for drivers who are violating Oregon’s distracted driving law.

Officers will be in unmarked and marked patrol cars, as well as officers in plain clothes at various locations to spot drivers violating the law.

“We are hoping that every citizen will do their part to keep our street safe from distracted driving and just put your phones away,” a press release from The Dalles Police Department stated.

The emphasis patrol is part of a grant-funded effort aimed at enhancing public safety.

Motorists are prohibited from using a mobile device that is not hands free while driving on public streets and premises open to the public.

The fine for the first offense is $265. The second offense in 10 years carries a presumptive fine of $440 and a third one in a 10-year period is a Class B misdemeanor. The law is found in the Oregon Revised Statues (ORS) 811.507.

From 2013-17 in Oregon, there were 12,006 crashes resulting in 95 fatalities and 18,429 injuries caused by crashes involving a distracted driver.

In the same time period, there were 72,032 convictions for distracted driving.

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