Oregon Agents’ Advocate – January 9, 2024

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 Jan. 1, 2024.  

“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.”  

Click the link on each bill name for more detailed information:  

  • 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 – 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. Previously, the definition included only alcohol, cannabis, psilocybin, and controlled substances. Some fines are reduced for people convicted of DUII while riding a bicycle.  
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.  

In addition to the new laws, a 2-cent increase in the state fuel tax went into effect on Jan. 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.

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