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New Oregon Traffic Laws Approved in 2023 Designed to Promote Safety on Roadways

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The Oregon Legislature passed hundreds of bills during the 2023 session, revising some existing transportation laws and creating new ones. Most of the changes went into effect on January 1st.

Kris Strickler, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation, said the updates in speed enforcement and impaired driving laws allow their partners in law enforcement to better deter behaviors that have proven to be dangerous.

House Bill 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 per hour below the statutory speed but not less than 20 miles per hour.

House Bill 2316 changes definitions and potential penalties for impaired driving. An "intoxicant" now includes any substance or combination of substances that can cause mental and physical impairment. Some fines are reduced for people who are convicted of DUII while riding a bicycle.

House Bill 2099 updates ODOT's Safe Routes to School program. It 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.

Senate Bill 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 miles per hour under the posted speed limit while passing.
Posted on 1/5/24 6:17AM by Sam Marsh