Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 15th, 2017 at 4:51 pm
Three bills signed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown this week will enact new regulations on motor vehicle use.
Two of the bills focus on speeding and one aims to get justice for victims of negligent automobile use.
House Bill 2682 gives the City of Portland the authority to lower residential speed limits by five miles per hour. The new law, which goes into effect on October 1st 2017, means that around 3,000 miles or over 60 percent of all the streets in Portland are likely to get speed limits reduced from 25 mph to 20 mph. The bill was strongly supported by the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation as a key step in their commitment to Vision Zero. It passed by a margin of 55-1 in the Oregon House and 18-10 in the Senate. Learn more about the bill in our most recent coverage.
House Bill 2409 allows cities to issue speeding citations to people caught on red light cameras. This bill closes an enforcement gap. Previously, cities in Oregon weren’t allowed to ticket people for running a red light while using speed radar cameras and they couldn’t cite people for red light running while using speed enforcement cameras. As per the bill, citations will only be issued if someone is going 11 miles or more over the posted speed limit. Another provision states that people cannot be issued two tickets at once (for running red light and speeding) unless they are going 21 miles per hour or greater over the limit. This new law goes into effect 91 days after the end of the legislative session, which is currently scheduled for June 23rd. This bill passed the House 45-15 and the Senate 18-10.
The Governor also signed Senate Bill 493 into law this week. This bill will make it easier for victims of traffic violence to receive justice. Pushed for by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office, it allows prosecutors to charge someone with assault if they cause serious physical injury to a vulnerable road user. Existing laws around compensation for victims and harsher sentencing are only triggered when negligence by motor vehicle operators results in death. This new misdemeanor crime (the DA tried to make it a felony last session but it failed on grounds it was too harsh) comes with a maximum of year in prison and a fine of $6,250 or both. In some cases a maximum sentence of five years and a $125,000 fine could be enacted. This bill was inspired by the case of Alistair Corkett, the man who lost his leg in a collision with a motor vehicle operator while bicycling across SE Powell Blvd in May 2015.
In addition to the big transportation bill (HB 2017-3), we’re still tracking two other bills that have a chance of passing: HB 2355, a.k.a. the anti-profiling bill would require police officers to capture more data about who they pull over in traffic stops. The bill had a public hearing yesterday but remains in committee.
And HB 2597, the big distracted driving/cell phone bill that has garnered a lot of attention, has passed the House by a vote of 46-13. It also passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 1st but is still stuck in the Rules Committee.