As of January 1st, there will be no more telling the police officer that you were talking on your cell phone while driving (with it up to your ear) because it was “employment related.” As of New Year’s Day, that excuse will no longer be a legal defense. You get a $110 ticket.
The last state legislature “clarified” the state’s cell phone laws that will, effective Jan. 1, outlaw all “phone-to-the-ear” use unless you are: A police officer. A city/county/district fire fighter, or volunteer firefighter who is enroute to a fire or other emergency call. A tow truck driver. A utility company/agency driver.
It’s time for that bluetooth purchase you’ve put off. And it’s STILL illegal to text while driving too.
Another new law taking effect January 1st is that anyone 40 years of age or younger must complete an ODOT approved motorcycle safety course before they are allowed to receive a motorcycle license.
ODOT says they’ll be inspecting bridges on Highway 229 (Siletz Highway) on Wednesday, November 30th, which may slow traffic to the point it pushes back on the intersection of HIghway 20 and 229. So they want everyone to be extra careful this coming Wednesday. The hours of the bridge inspection this Wednesday is between 9am and 3pm between the intersection of Highway 20, north for four miles or so.
Motorists on 229 should expect single lane restrictions with flaggers controlling traffic. And again, expect traffic slowing or congestion at 20 and 229 anytime during the day Wednesday.
As many of our readers know, the Lincoln County School District, in cooperation with the city of Newport, has erected large street closure barriers on Eads Street in Newport in front of Newport High School during school hours. However, in an effort to keep the Monday through Friday closure to an acceptable minimum amount of time, the negotiations somehow created some confusion. So, the earlier start time of 8am is now 7:30am. The barriers will be removed on closure days at 4pm as previously agreed between the city and the school district.
The barriers were requested by Newport High School administration as a safety issue, citing one fatality (a teacher) over the years and a few close calls. Detour streets include NW Harney to the east and Coos and Douglas to the west. The barriers will be up on school days only.
Community: New school year begins Tuesday, September 6th
A reminder from Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda
Nearly 2,000 students will be heading back to Newport schools next Tuesday morning. Many will be very excited with the new school year with one thought in mind– get to school! Safety is not always top of mind with students. For that reason, drivers must be prepared for the unexpected. Watch out for the kids. State laws and local ordinances have been enacted for the safety of the children. Here’s the main ones:
* School zones adjacent to schools are active from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on school days. The speed limit in school zones is 20 miles per hour.
* School zones not directly near a school are active “When Children are Present”. The speed limit in these school zones is also 20 miles per hour. Drivers must be very careful in these school zones because a child’s presence anywhere in the zone area requires reduction of speed to 20 MPH.
* Crosswalks in school zones differ from regular crosswalks. A school crosswalk means that if there is anyone, anywhere in the crosswalk, motorists may not drive over the crosswalk.
* New this year, NE Eads Street in front of the Newport High School will be closed to traffic from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on school days. The closure is between NE 3rd Street and NE 4th Street. This street closure is for the safety of the students crossing between the buildings at various times during the school day.
* Parents are reminded that children under the age of 16 are required to wear helmets when riding bicycles and skateboards.
From Chief Miranda: “Children are our future and we need to watch out for them and protect them, so everyone, please drive safely!”
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind drivers of their responsibility to stop for school buses displaying red flashing lights. Because buses are large vehicles, the level of difficulty to see around increases. The outcome of illegally passing a stopped school bus is potentially devastating for children and drivers.
Law enforcement agencies continue to receive reports of motorists failing to stop for school buses from bus drivers and other citizens each year. With nearly 6,000 school buses operating in the State of Oregon, motorists need to be alert.
Oregon law requires motorists to stop whenever the red lights on a school bus are flashing regardless of the direction you are traveling. The law applies to any roadway with two or more lanes of traffic, including multi-lane highways such as Highway 101.
The only exception to the law is for divided highways with two roads separated by an unpaved median strip or barrier, such as in the Lincoln and Gleneden Beach areas. In this case, only drivers on the same side of the road as the bus must stop. A painted median strip or a center lane used only for left turns does not create two separate lanes. Where this situation exists, all lanes of traffic must stop.
When a bus is flashing amber lights, motorists should prepare to stop. When the red lights begin to flash, motorists traveling in both directions must stop before reaching the bus and must remain stopped until the red lights are turned off. The same rules apply to church or worker buses equipped with amber and red flashing lights.
Please do your part to make our roads safe. Be aware when following any type of bus, it may be making frequent stops. Following these tips will help reduce the risk of traffic crashes and pedestrian injuries in our community.
For more tips and information, please visit the LCSO website at www.lincolncountysheriff.net or visit us on Facebook at Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office – Oregon.
Newport City Councilors have agreed to close Eads Street on school days between 3rd and 4th streets, the block between the high school and the prep academy across the way. Newport High Principal Jon Zagel, with the support of Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda, recommended the closure for safety reasons. Zagel told the council there are numerous near misses all the time between students and cars as students try to get back and forth across the crosswalk that connects the two campuses. Zagel said kids have been struck, but luckily none have been seriously hurt. “But it’s just a matter of time when one will be, if we don’t do something,” Zagel warned the council.
The council agreed that the concerns are real but questioned the long closure time requested; 7am-5pm. Zagel said they could be flexible with a later start in the morning and an earlier close in the afternoon. He suggested perhaps a closure of 8am to 4pm to accommodate parents who drop their kids off in front of the school and the fact that most students have left the campus by 4pm. Tim Gross of public works said he would help them develop a traffic plan and report back to council at their next meeting.