New Laws for 2024 Promote Safety on Oregon’s Roads

By Kris McDowell

The Oregon Legislature passed hundreds of bills in the last session, revising some existing transportation laws and creating new ones. Many changes went into effect on January 1, 2024. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) issued a news release summarizing the changes.
“We are encouraged that our legislators passed bills that prioritize safety for people who use our transportation system,” said Kris Strickler, director of ODOT. “The updates in speed enforcement and impaired driving laws, especially, allow our partners in law enforcement to better deter behaviors that have proven to be dangerous.”
HB 2095 gives all cities in Oregon the authority to use mobile photo radar for traffic enforcement–as long as they pay their own operational costs–and removes limits on the number of hours it can be used. The bill also allows cities to lower the speed limit on certain streets at up to 10 miles below the statutory speed (but not less than 20 mph).
HB 2316 changes definitions and potential penalties for driving under the influence of intoxicants. An “intoxicant” now includes any substance, or combination of substances, that can cause mental and physical impairment. Previously, the definition included only alcohol, cannabis, psilocybin and controlled substances. Some fines are reduced for people convicted of DUII while riding a bicycle. The bill also expands eligibility to participate in a diversion program when the defendant previously participated in treatment as a juvenile or as a parent or guardian pursuant to a juvenile court order.
HB 2099 makes a variety of changes to transportation laws but notably updates ODOT’s Safe Routes to School program. The bill increases the eligibility radius for Safe Routes to School projects from one mile to two miles, ensures projects serving high schools are equally considered with elementary and middle schools, and allows greater flexibility in determining the grant match requirement for individual projects. Additional bill details can be found at bit.ly/3NPvNCn.
SB 895 allows drivers to pass in a no passing zone if the driver encounters an obstruction, including a bicycle or other vehicle traveling at a speed of less than half the posted speed limit. The driver must ensure there are no oncoming vehicles and stay at least five mph under the posted speed limit while passing.
HB 2100 increases the fees for some DMV services to help recover costs and temporarily avoid service reductions. DMV previously announced the changes, which include fee increases for driver’s license or ID cards, vehicle registration, driver’s tests and other services. It also provides that the registration period for new mopeds and motorcycles will now be two years instead of four years.
In addition to the new laws, a two-cent increase in the state fuel tax went into effect on January 1. This is the fourth and final fuel tax increase resulting from HB 2017 (Keep Oregon Moving). The state fuel tax now stands at $0.40 per gallon. Oregon’s fuel taxes are used for the creation, preservation and maintenance of Oregon’s transportation infrastructure. Learn more about ODOT’s revenue and budget bit.ly/3H8on9I.

New Laws for 2024 Promote Safety on Oregon’s Roads

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