Undercover distracted driving sting leads to 107 stops in just 5 hours

Like shooting fish in a barrel.
(Photo: Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

Just how rampant is dangerous driving and law-breaking among drivers? Our latest example comes from Washington County where sheriff deputies in Aloha went undercover to help educate the public about Oregon’s new hands-free driving law.

In five hours of work they stopped 73 people for violating the new law, passing out 11 citations and 62 warnings.

The Sheriff’s office called it a “non-traditional enforcement mission” (they prefer “mission” instead of sting) because they used undercover deputies. The plainclothes deputies stood on the sidewalk at intersections as “spotters” and would then tip-off other deputies when they saw violations.

Oregon’s new distracted driving law (HB 2597) went into effect October 1st (we have an in-depth post about it from our legal expert Ray Thomas coming Monday). It covers many more behaviors than the old law (which only focused on cell phones) and also applies when you are stopped in traffic.


In addition to the distracted driving violations, deputies also stopped people for a myriad of other offenses:

* Three citations and four warnings for failure to wear or improper use of seatbelts;
* Two warnings for failure to obey a traffic control device;
* Six citations for driving while suspended;
* Two citations for operating without driving privileges;
* One citation for speeding;
* Three warnings for expired vehicle registration;
* Two citations and three warnings for vehicle insurance violations;
* Four warnings for vehicle equipment violations;
* Four warnings for lane use violations;

It’s always amazing how many people officers stop on these enforcement missions. And it’s a reminder of just how selfish and disrespectful some road users are.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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