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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon, Washington Lawmakers Eye Distracted Driving

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Kevin Mooney
/
Northwest News Network
A bill in the Oregon legislature would treat using a mobile electronic device while driving as a misdemeanor.

Lawmakers in Salem and Olympia are debating measures intended to crack down on distracted driving.

The Washington Senate approved a bill this week that would make it a violation to hold or even touch any mobile electronic device while driving. In Oregon, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony Tuesday on a similar measure.

"You're more now, I think in danger -- or your loved ones -- of being hit by someone by someone texting or messing (with their phone) then you are with someone drinking and driving,” said chief sponsor Senate President Peter Courtney.

Courtney's bill would treat using a mobile electronic device while driving as a misdemeanor. He said the legislation shows how serious he considers distracted driving to be.