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Distracted driving related to the use of a mobile communications device was a contributing factor in a Wednesday morning single vehicle rollover traffic crash along Interstate 84 about 30 miles east of Baker City.
The crash left two people injured and affected westbound traffic for about two hours.
According to a release from the Oregon State Police, a 1999 Toyota Tacoma pickup driven by Madison Moore, 21, from Sherwood was westbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 334. Moore was reportedly distracted while trying to use her cell phone negotiating a righthand curve when the pickup drifted to the left and collided twice with the center concrete barrier.
Moore’s pickup rolled once before coming to rest on its wheels. A canopy on the back of the pickup was heavily damaged and the contents inside were strewn across the freeway.
Moore was extricated by responding firefighters and transported by ambulance to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City with minor injuries, where she was treated and released.
A passenger in Moore’s pickup, Don Hyrum, 24, of Phoenix, Ariz., climbed out of the pickup with minor injuries.
Both occupants were using safety restraints.
OSP troopers from the Baker City work site responded to the scene and investigated the crash. Moore was cited for unlawful use of a mobile communication device, a Class C violation, which can carry a minimum fine of $142 and a maximum of $500, according to the OSP.
OSP was assisted at the scene by local emergency responders and ODOT. The westbound lanes were blocked for 20 minutes and then one lane open until the scene was cleared about two hours later.
Unlawful use of a mobile communication device
According to ODOT, from 2009 to 2011, nine people died in Oregon crashes involving a driver who was reportedly using a cell phone at the time of the crash, and 673 people have been injured.
Using a cell phone while driving falls under the category of "distracted driving," and this type of distraction is an increasingly dangerous behavior across the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the U.S. 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011, compared to 3,267 in 2010.