PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new bill that would put the penalties for distracted driving on par with those for drunk driver will be formally introduced when the legislative session begins in February.

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney is spearheading the effort that would deal with the use of mobile devices while driving. Under his bill, if you’re caught using one while driving, it could mean a year in prison.

The proposal does not include distracted driving from other things, such as eating, drinking and smoking.

Distracted driving is suspected in many recent crashes on Oregon highways and roads, including a crash on Hwy 26 that Oregon State Police began investigating in October.

The Oregon Department of Transportation released a Public Service Announcement stating there had been 9 crashes in 9 days. They said while the causes are still being investigated, more than 90% of the time, the driver is at fault.

Those are just a few of the reasons Courtney is waging a war on mobile devices. He says a distracted driving crash occurs every 2.5 hours and a person is injured in a distracted driving crash every 3 hours.

In his proposal, Courtney pointed to a 28% decrease in drunk driving fatalities between 2005 and 2012, but a 28% increase in distracted driving deaths between 2005 and 2008.

Courtney feels making texting and driving a felony is a step int he right direction. Under his bill, using a mobile device while driving could get you a year in prison and the fine would be raised from $500 to more than $6,000. Multiple violations could get you 5 years in prison and a $125,000 fine.

“I’m shooting [for] the moon here,” Courtney said.

If I driver were pulled over for texting and driving, whether or not they caused an accident, they would be cited.

“They get cited, it’s over,” Courtney said. “You get pulled over for drunk driving you may have not have hit anybody but if you violate, same thing.”

Courtney expects opposition to the bill, but hopes some portions of it will become law.

“I’m hoping to at least get a major fine increase,” he said.