It is a no-brainer that people need to put their cell phones down while driving.  However, despite the legal consequences of driving with a mobile device in your hand while driving, people continue to do so.   People also apparently have no issues with the fact that they are putting other drivers, cyclist, and pedestrians in danger if they are texting or using their mobile device while driving. This may explain why the number of traffic injuries and fatalities are on the rise.  In an effort to bring MORE awareness to this issue various agencies have declared April "National Distracted Driving Awareness Month."  Hence, this blog post.

Don't be stupid and get off of the phone.jpg

Put the Phone Down and focus on Driving. As a personal injury lawyer, I have to represent too many people injured in an Oregon crash caused by a distracted driver.  There is no excuse for messing with the phone while you are driving.  It puts other lives in danger, and technology has made it absolutely unnecessary.  That is why I have no qualms about seeking punitive damages from a cell phone using defendant that has injured one of my clients. 

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car crash then call Ross Law PDX and Jeremiah Ross.  Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer Jeremiah Ross will provide a free case evaluation.  Call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 to discuss your crash injury case, cyclist injury case, pedestrian injury case, or wrongful death case.  Please remember that this post is for information purposes only.  It is not to be considered legal advice. 


It is hard to believe Thanksgiving is already here in Oregon.  This means that hundreds of thousands of Oregonians are going to hit the road to spend Thanksgiving with friends and family.  The surge in traffic can cripple Oregon's roads especially around Portland, Salem, Woodburn, and Eugene.  The increased traffic not only can cause frustration and delay, but it can also cause more vehicle crashes.  Here are some tips to help reduce your stress and chances of being in a vehicle crash:

Uploaded by Roham on 2013-07-08 who is not affiliated with Ross Law.  Youtube clip is directly from a Youtube link.

  1. Travel during a less congested timeTravel and Leisure Magazine states that Portland's traffic will be at its worse this Wednesday and then again on Friday at 4 p.m.  They suggest driving on Thanksgiving day or early Sunday morning to avoid the traffic.  Also, leave a little earlier than you think you should.  This will build a buffer time, so you won't be in a rush to get to your destination if you encounter unforeseen traffic.
  2. Be Prepared for Traffic: If you get hangry, or have little ones you should be prepared for a trip that may take a couple of hours longer than usual.  Throwing some snacks in a bag, bringing some toys for the kids, or other things to entertain them will help relieve a lot of the frustration of sitting in traffic.  As a father of a toddler and a baby, I know this isn't always feasible, but it can help.  This may help you remain more alert and focused on the road.  
  3. Leave extra room between you and the car in front of you:  Rear end crashes are going to be common this weekend. People will be traveling too close to the vehicle in front of them.  It happens every year.  These crashes are easy to avoid if drivers simply pay attention and leave extra room between them and the car in front of you.  This can be hard in bumper to bumper traffic, but it can also mean the difference between staying safe and being in a crash.
  4. Cut Down on Distractions:  Phones, Ipads, in-vehicle movies, and rowdy kids can all create unnecessary distractions that can lead to a crash.  Drivers should do whatever they can to reduce these distractions.  The new iPhone update has a "Do not disturb"  option that allows the phone to not communicate while you are driving.  This is a handy feature but should be unnecessary if you simply remain off of the phone.   Keeping devices away from the driver and keeping the kids happy are two ways to prevent distractions. Also, remember the stiff penalties for holding a mobile device while driving.
  5. Ensure Your Vehicle is Mechanically Sound:   When was the last time your windshield wipers were replaced?  When was the last time your tires were inspected?  What about that noise under the hood?  These mechanical issues can result in a crash or an unnecessary delay.   It is supposed to be rainy all week in Northwestern Oregon so wipers, headlights, and tires are important on a long trip.  Good tires prevent you from hydroplaning so ensure you have ample tread on them.  Many crashes are a result of poor visibility so good wipers and headlights are a necessity.  Also, you don't want to be stranded on the side of the road with a serious mechanical issue that could have been avoided by a quick inspection.   If you think something is wrong with the vehicle, have it looked at before you leave.

Of course, there are other tips to keep you and your family safe on the road, but these should get you thinking about it.  You don't want a relaxing holiday to turn into a nightmare scenario.  If you, or someone you know, have been in a traffic crash please contact Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 for your free personal injury case evaluation.  Ross Law LLC is happy to represent personal injury clients in Oregon.    

Distracted Driving Kills, But Should We Have a Law Outlawing Eating and Driving?

As a personal injury attorney I am constantly exposed to the gruesome consequences of distracted driving.  My clients are typically injured by someone that is driving and not paying attention.  These injuries can range from bruises, soft tissue and whiplash type of injuries to serious catastrophic injuries that require hospitalization, surgery, and months of rehabilitation.   I never get to meet some clients because they were killed by the negligence of another.

With that said, there is an interesting law being proposed in New Jersey to attempt to outlaw anything that can result in unsafe driving.  I have not seen the text of the bill, but reports note that it is aimed with outlawing a driver from participating in any activity that is unrelated to the safe operation of a motor-vehicle. Lawmakers are attempting to make roads safer by outlawing things like shaving and driving, putting make-up on while driving, watching a movie on a ipad while driving, and all of the various other distracting things people do while driving. Depending on the language of the law, it may be challenged on Constitutional grounds for being over-broad. 

A compilation of teen driver vehicle crashes caused by driver distraction.

In any event, I agree with the spirit of the law, but have concerns about its Constitutionality and the power it may provide law enforcement.  Distracted driving is an issue that needs to be addressed.  An article noted that according to the AAA foundation for Traffic Safety, the three main sources of distracted driving are:  

1) Visual (failing to keep a proper lookout)

2) Manual (taking hands off of the wheel)

3) Cognitive (thinking about something else aside from driving)

Those results are in line with the  personal injury cases I see. The AAA study noted that studying whether or not a person is thinking about something aside from driving is the most difficult thing to study.  This seems  fairly obvious, because it is impossible to see into a person's actual thoughts in real time.  For example, it is difficult to prove a person caused a crash because they were day dreaming. 

At the end of the day what does this mean for Oregon drivers?  The data seems to question whether or not these laws are effective.  However, I am sure more studies will pop out of the wood work affirming the validity of these laws.  

I think everyone will agree that texting and driving is unsafe and should be outlawed even if the empirical data from one particular group does not conclude it is.  Should Oregon Law Makers want to eliminate distracted driving, they can probably look to the current Oregon Revised Statutes that outlaw: texting while driving (ORS 811.507), careless driving (ORS 811.135), and reckless driving (ORS 811.140).  Oregon lawmakers may need to decide whether these laws provide a sufficient deterrent to distracting driving.  

Until the lawmakers address the issue, I will be here to hold distracted drivers accountable for the harms and losses they cause to my clients.   If you or a person you know is injured as a result of distracting driving, please call Portland personal injury attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.   Please call Ross Law LLC today for your free personal injury consultation.