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Rep. who supported Oregon's new distracted driving law ticketed for using phone
by KATU Staff
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PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon State representative got caught using her cell phone while driving, and said she is now having to pay the price for a bill she supported.
State Rep. Julie Parrish was on her way to the KATU News studios for an interview when she says she picked up her phone to look for directions - something that is illegal under the new law.
The state's new cell phone and device law went into effect October 1.
Parrish was pulled over and issued a ticket, which is $265 for the first offence.
Distracted driving causes an average of more than 2,400 crashes a year in the state, the Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT) said.
Over a period of four years, 54 people were killed in Oregon from crashes involving distracted drivers. Of those, 14 were caused by drivers using cell phones.
The statistics are from before Oct. 1 and authorities and lawmakers like Parrish alike hope the new law will decrease these numbers dramatically.
Representative Parrish said her experience serves as a good reminder to drivers, and to show officers are enforcing the law. Parrish said she has teenagers and wants them to be safe on the road.
"It takes a lot of work to raise a kid and to watch a child's life be snuffed out in just a minute because of distracted driving incident," Parrish said. "As a mom that's scary."
Under the new law, drivers are not allowed to hold their phones, and may only use one motion (such as a swipe) to activate the device. This rule applies when drivers are stopped at stoplights.