Several new laws took effect on Jan. 1 in Oregon, including new rules of the road. Oh, and drivers are now paying more for the gas tax.
Here is a breakdown of the laws, according to ODOT:
Photo radar for traffic enforcement
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).
Passing in no-passing zones
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 5 mph under the posted speed limit while passing.
New DUII rules
HB 2316 – The bill 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 (even Nyquil, according to Bend Police). Previously, the definition included only alcohol, cannabis, psilocybin, and controlled substances.
Some fines are reduced for people convicted of DUII while riding a bicycle.
Safe Routes to School update
HB 2099 — The bill 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.
Increased DMV fees
HB 2100 – Fees for some DMV services have increased 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.
“We are encouraged that our legislators passed bills that prioritize safety for people who use our transportation system,” said Kris Strickler, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation. “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.”
Gas tax increase
A 2-cent increase in the state fuel tax went into effect on Jan. 1. ODOT says this is the fourth and final fuel tax increase resulting from HB 2017 (Keep Oregon Moving). The state fuel tax now stands at 40 cents per gallon.