Tough Talk-and-Text Deal for Drivers: A $2,000 Fine

Wednesday, 13 Feb 2013 11:54 AM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Motorists in Oregon who text while they drive may soon pay dearly for it — with lawmakers mulling a whopping $2000 fine for offenders.

"You don't have to drive much to see people texting," state Sen. President Peter Courtney told The Oregonian newspaper. "It's everywhere. It's going on all the time. It's just unbelievable."

Two bills to boost fines have been introduced in the legislature as statistics show hundreds of car accidents are the result of people texting on their cellphones or chatting on them without using a hands-free device.

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Four years ago, Oregon passed a law slapping drivers who text or talk with a maximum $500 penalty. But there’s a good chance that amount will be substantially boosted to at least $1,000 and as much as $2,000.

"If the penalties are great enough, then people will realize," Courtney told the newspaper.

"OK, you can get away with it and get away with it, but the one time you get caught, the penalties will be very severe," he said.

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