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Beaverton PD launches distracted driving diversion program

Posted by on April 12th, 2013 at 12:55 pm


New program would offer class in
lieu of $110 ticket.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Beaverton Police Department wants to increase public awareness about distracted driving and especially the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. As of today, when people get stopped by Beaverton PD officers for violating Oregon’s cell phone law, they will be given the option of going through a Distracted Driving Diversion Program.

Here’s more from Beaverton PD Public Information Officer Mike Rowe:

“This new program provides drivers who have been stopped and issued a citation for using a mobile communication device an opportunity to attend an educational class. The class has an emphasis on distracted driving with a focus on the use of a cell phone. If you choose to take the Distracted Driving Diversion class, pay the diversion fee of $85.00, and successfully complete the class. The case will be dismissed and there will be no conviction on your driving record.”

The fine for using a cell phone (without a bluetooth headset) while driving in Oregon is $110.

The Beaverton PD says using a phone while driving is “by far the most alarming distraction” drivers engage in and that it’s “a major factor in many vehicle crashes.” While educational efforts abound, using phones while driving remains an epidemic in America. A recent survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) found there are 660,000 people using cell phones or other devices while driving at any given time.

This is the same type of program that Portland pioneered back in 2007. Portland’s Share the Road Safety Class is run through Legacy Emanuel Hospital and it’s available (at an officer’s discretion) to people stopped for any number of traffic citations.

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  • Mindful Cyclist April 12, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    It’s too bad the driveway out of St. Vincent’s hospital is just outside of the Beaverton city limits. The BPD could make a mint! I have been nearly crushed numerous times by people only looking left to make a right with a phone securely glued to the ear.

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  • rain bike April 12, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Education is great, but nothing teaches faster than enforcement of existing laws and a hefty fine.

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  • Joe April 12, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    anyway we can report lic plates?

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  • seeshellbike April 12, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I love the idea of diversion programs – law enforcement should be pursuing enforcement like this that increases safety by reducing crash causes which dist. driving is a major cause

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  • K'Tesh April 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Heard about a distracted pilot crashing a helicopter the other day… He was texting around the time he was supposed to be doing his safety checks, and ended up running out of fuel, only a mile from the airport. The crash killed him, and three others aboard.

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    • Psyfalcon April 12, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Seems that one had more to do with not enough fuel and less to do with the phone. Either way it could not have helped.

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      • Brian E April 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm


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        • K'Tesh April 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm

          My understanding from the NTSB is that his texting caused him to be distracted while performing his preflight checks, an catching the low fuel indication. Records show he was advised that the heli had been used the night before, and was told that it was low on fuel, but carried on anyway. There also is evidence that he lied when he reported his fuel status after picking up his patient (medical heli), thinking he could make it. We all know the results of this.

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    • sbrock April 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      Fuel quantity is calculated on the ground during the flight mission plan. Then it is physically checked during PREFLIGHT. Also FAA regs. state there must be enough fuel to make to an alternative airport in case of closed airport.

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  • Richard Allan April 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    A diversion program is o.k., but if someone is caught using a cellphone while driving after completing the class, they’ve made a clear choice. They can keep the phone, but impound the car.

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    • Opus the Poet April 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      That’s something I would like to see instituted for a number of driving infractions that could maim or kill vulnerable users, like failure to yield at a crosswalk just off the top of my head.

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  • longgone April 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Anyone else but me annoyed by dashboard computer displays in auto’s ?


    I’m a luddite though. My idea of a car is a ’65 Galaxie with a 600hp 429, driven for fun and fun only, on a sunny day.

    computer’s in cars…ppffffh!

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    • Opus the Poet April 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      Wouldn’t the ’65 have a 427 SOHC instead of the 429 that didn’t come out until ’69?

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  • dwainedibbly April 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Let’s take a well-needed, under-enforced law and make it easier for people to avoid the full penalty for violating that law. (Part of the normal penalty being jacked up insurance rates.) Wonderful.

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  • Kris April 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Given that studies consistently show that talking on a hands-free device is no safer than talking on a hand-held phone, I’ll be more interested when we actually have a law worth enforcing. On the other hand, if the class actually manages to make people understand just how dangerous it is to use a phone while driving, rather than convincing them to buy a Bluetooth headset, it’s probably a win.

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  • 9watts April 13, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    When will cops stop fiddling with their onboard computers and related gadgets while driving around? Any chance they might be (subconsciously) reluctant to nab folks when they do this sort of thing as a matter of course?
    This seems to be a real problem (see links below)


    “The mayor did admit that Arlington police had three minor collisions involving officers using computers in the last few years.

    But he said the benefits of the computers outweigh the risks and said he thinks Arlington cops are better equipped to handle distraction.

    “They’re well-trained,” he said. “They understand distracted driving, and they can do both.”

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    • oliver April 15, 2013 at 9:50 am

      And I have 25 years of driving experience and 35 years of cycling experience, I can run stop signs.

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  • Skid April 14, 2013 at 9:18 am

    This might actually encourage people to text and drive, because they will know if they get caught the penalties will be less the first time. Tri-Met got wise to this, and no longer do you get a warning the first time you are caught riding without a fare, now you get a ticket. P
    eople used to just take the chance until they got caught the first time.

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    • Brian May 4, 2013 at 12:40 am

      Saving just $25 and having to complete a class is not necessarily less of a penalty for someone who considers their life too busy to put the phone away. Sometimes time is worth more than money and making people pay with their time might be more effective.

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