After years of laissez-faire policy, it seems as if legislators are poised to determine how we can drive our cars--from cell phone use to what tires we can have. If they're successful, cars in Oregon may be saddled with as many laws as a racecar with bumper stickers.

Ever since the New England Journal of Medicine reported in 1997 that cell phones quadruple the likelihood of having an accident, lawmakers around the country have scrambled in pursuit of a quick fix. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, the number of states considering prohibitive legislation has more than doubled since 1999 from 15 to 35.

In fact, Oregon has not one, but two bills up for review in this session. The most restrictive, HB 2649, would make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving on highways. If granted a hearing before the Advancing E-Government committee--a big if--it is almost sure to fail.

Sen. Avel Gordly's (D-Portland) proposition, however, is greater cause for alarm for cellular junkies: SB 190 would institute mandatory enhanced fines for motorists who commit motor vehicle offenses while using a cell phone. Although not yet heard before committee, Gordly's office remains optimistic about its chances.

Next to cell phones, legislators also have their eyes on the other big hurtstudded tires. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, studded tires cost the state $11 million each year in road repairs. To recoup these costs, lawmakers have proposed two ideas: HB 2819 would require payment of $20 for an annual permit, while SB 6 would outlaw them altogether.