Local police cracking down on distracted driving

Medford, Ore. —  April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It’s an opportunity to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and take steps to prevent it. That’s why local law enforcement agencies will be stepping up patrols.

According to the National Safety Council, at least nine Americans die and 100 more are injured in distracted driving crashes every day.

Beginning Monday, the Medford Police Department and Ashland Police Department will begin focused patrols on distracted driving. MPD will also be looking for anyone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

According to Oregon Impact, from 2013 to 2017 there were over 12,000 car crashes caused by distracted drivers in the state, which resulted in 95 fatalities and over 18,000 injuries.

Oregon law prohibits drivers from any “hands-on” cell phone use while driving. People who violate the law face steep penalties. A first offense that doesn’t contribute to a crash is a Class B violation with a maximum fine of $1,000. A second offense – or a first offense that contributes to a crash- is Class A violation with a maximum fine of $2,000. A third offense in ten years can be charged as a Class B misdemeanor, which could result in a maximum fine of $2,500 and six months in jail.

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