Several Oregon driving, vehicle laws change Jan. 1

Expanded Move Over Law, registration privacy, more

SALEM, Ore. - In addition to passing a major transportation funding package, the 2017 Oregon Legislature passed a handful of other laws that will affect drivers and vehicle owners. Most will take effect Jan. 1.

Crash reporting
As of Jan. 1, you will not need to report a fender bender if the damage is under $2,500. This is an increase from the $1,500 threshold that had been in place since 2004.
Senate Bill 35 is raising the threshold to reflect the increase in cost to repair vehicles. In recent years, many reports submitted to DMV because of the $1,500 threshold have been for minor crashes, consuming staff time that would be better used for focusing on more serious incidents.
ODOT uses crash data to make informed decisions on how to prioritize engineering the safety of highway and road facilities, and to help provide focus for traffic enforcement resources. Raising the threshold helps focus crash data on incidents that involve fatalities, injuries and serious property damage.
You must report a vehicle crash to DMV within 72 hours if:

* Damage to any vehicle is over $2,500 ($1,500 through Dec. 31, 2017);
* Any vehicle is towed from the scene;
* Injury or death resulted from this incident; or
* Damages to property other than a vehicle involved in the crash is more than $2,500 ($1,500 through Dec. 31, 2017).

Expanded Move Over Law

Beginning Jan. 1, drivers will be required to move over to another lane or slow down by at least five miles an hour below the posted speed for any vehicle stopped next to the side of the road displaying hazard lights or other signs of distress. Under the current law, drivers have to move over (or if unable to move over safely, to slow down) only for an emergency vehicle, a roadside assistance vehicle, a tow vehicle or ambulance, when it is displaying warning lights.

The new law makes it clear that drivers have a choice to comply by either moving over or slowing down by at least five miles an hour below the posted speed; and now the law applies when  approaching any vehicle at the side of the road displaying hazard lights or distress signs. The offense remains a Class B traffic violation.

ODOT introduced Senate Bill 34 as a means to increase safety for motorists stopped along Oregon’s highways by expanding the scope of the law to include all stopped motor vehicles displaying hazard lights or indicating distress. Between 2011 and 2015 in Oregon, there were 167 serious crashes and eight people died in incidents where a vehicle was parked on the side of the road and there was no emergency vehicle with lights on involved. During that same time frame, in incidents where an emergency vehicle with lights on was aiding a motorist, there were just six serious crashes and no fatalities.

The bill states a person is not in violation of the move over law if the stopped motor vehicle is in a designated parking area.

Registration card privacy
Senate Bill 930 allows the owner of a vehicle to black out or obscure the residence address, business address, mailing address or vehicle address shown on the registration card and on proof of insurance or other current proof of compliance carried in the vehicle.

Hardship permits
Senate Bill 252 allows a person with a hardship permit to apply to drive for the purposes of participating in gambling addiction treatment. This bill applies to hardship permits issued on or after Jan. 1, 2018.

Three-wheel vehicle testing
As of Jan. 1, a licensed Oregon driver will not need to take a drive test to receive an endorsement on their license to drive three-wheeled motorcycles.
Under a related bill – House Bill 3125, which took effect in June 2017 – no endorsement is required on “autocycles,” which are motorcycles designed to travel on three wheels, equipped with a steering wheel, a non-straddle seat and a safety belt.

Ex-POW registration plates
House Bill 2149 changes the registration for Ex-POW vehicle plates to permanent registration. New applicants for Ex-POW registration will pay a one-time registration fee of $15, plus the plate manufacturing fee. Persons who have current Ex-POW registration as of Jan. 1, 2018, will not be required to pay a renewal fee.

Crater Lake plate surcharge
House Bill 2922 increases the surcharge for Crater Lake license plates from $10 per plate to $15 per plate as of Jan. 1, 2018. The Crater Lake fee supports the Oregon Community Foundation for use on projects at Crater Lake National Park.

Any time you need to visit a DMV office, first check to find office hours, locations, and current wait times at our larger offices. You also can do some DMV business from home – renew your vehicle registration, file a change of address, or file notice of the sale of your vehicle online without getting in line at an office.

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