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MailTribune.com
  • No law prohibits texting while flagging

  • I saw a frightening thing: a road-construction flagger texting as the cars just drove on through. Please tell me there is a law against this or soon will be.
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  • I saw a frightening thing: a road-construction flagger texting as the cars just drove on through. Please tell me there is a law against this or soon will be.
    — Safety Mom
    We checked with Gary Leaming of the Oregon Department of Transportation on this, Safety Mom.
    He says that there is no Oregon Revised Statute on the books for such an act. There is a law that pertains to motorists, as we're sure you know.
    However, Leaming and other folks in the industry agree: in general, it is a big no-no.
    "It is really poor policy to be inattentive while you're directing or flagging traffic," Leaming says. "It's a really bad policy. They're probably violating some company policy while doing that."
    That said, some flag crews use cellphones to communicate with other flaggers during traffic direction, an alternative to traditional radios.
    "What you saw was a snapshot in time," Leaming says. "Sometimes you don't know. You make assumptions when you see things, and they're not always true."
    But in general, it's bad. Very bad.
    "In general, for the most part, flaggers when they're directing traffic should not be texting," Leaming says.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
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