OR police cracking down on distracted drivers

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by Kyle Iboshi, KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 12 at 12:47 PM

PORTLAND -- This week police are cracking down on distracted drivers in Oregon.

Last year, Oregon State Police stopped more than 4,000 drivers for using a cell phone. Officers noted that hiding the phone isn't fooling anyone. Holding it on a speaker phone is illegal, too they warned.

Authorities believe many drivers underestimate the risk. In 2011, there were more than 200 crashes involving drivers on a cell phone. Four of those crashes were fatal.

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney has introduced legislation increasing the penalty for using a cell phone while driving. Senate Bill 9 would quadruple the fine for drivers using a hand-held cell phone.

"The one thing you are saying, if you come into the state of Oregon and you text on your cell phone while you are driving a car, you take your chances because if you get hit it is going to cost you $1,000 dollars," said the democrat from Salem.

The bill also calls for roadside signs warning about the dangers of distracted drivers.

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