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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 House Votes To Ban Use Of All Handheld Electronic Devices While Driving

Kevin Mooney
Northwest News Network
The Oregon House approved a measure that would ban the use of all handheld electronic devices while driving.

Oregon lawmakers are one step closer to banning the use of all handheld electronic devices while driving.

The Oregon House approved a measure Monday that would clarify that the state's ban on cell phone use while driving applies to all functions of a smart phone, not just texting and talking.

Republican Rep. Carl Wilson of Grants Pass said he sees people multi-tasking behind the wheel all the time. ?

"I can't tell you how many times I will pull up to an intersection and see the person to the right of me on their phone and the person to the left of me on their phone.,” Wilson said. “And I presume that the person coming up behind me is also on their phone. It is just an amazing situation." ?

Opponents said the measure would do little to stop the problem of distracted driving. ?

"I feel as if we're focused on one segment of distracted driving," said Rep. Greg Smith, a Republican from Heppner. "As a father of five kids, I think of all the times I've been distracted. Not just by a cell phone, but by that darn soda that's spilled over in the car, or the soccer ball that came flying up from the back seat."

The measure passed 46-13 and now heads to the Oregon Senate. ?