Here is a collection of articles on driving laws written by Todd Peterson, Oregon and Washington car accident attorney.

Driving with Unrestrained Dogs or Pets

There are many Oregon driving laws that make sense. Dogs not restrained by seat belts have caused enough car accidents in the state of Oregon to prompt one legislator to draft a bill outlawing unrestrained dogs in moving cars.

Having represented injury victims for many years in Oregon, I have seen dogs interfere with drivers and the result has been rather serious car crashes.

So if Oregon bill passes and is enacted into law Oregon will join Hawaii as the only other state to make loose pooches a no no in Oregon.

update 2011

Having teamed up with Koin Channel 6 campaign against distracted driving I recently learned about the failure to enact into law senate bill 160 which would have penalized drivers who drive in cars with dogs cats or other furry creatures on their laps instead of being harnessed or caged.

Senate bill 160 (from my now twenty years of car accident law work) would have put a dent in the numbers of distracted driving involving pets. Cages harnesses for dogs is easy and frankly cheap given the serious injuries which could ensure in a distracted driving car pet scenario.

Like all real Oregonians we love our pets and who needs further regulations but the true monetary losses involved in distracted driving make one ponder whether we need such laws.

Oregon Driving Laws For Cell Phones

Effective January 1, 2010 Oregon drivers are prohibited from driving and using a cell unless you use a “hands free” accessory as defined under the new driving law. Having handled lots of cases involving cell phone use it stands to reason that if the at fault driver is found to be using a cell phone without the accessory then not only would they receive a criminal driving infraction but the claim for statutory negligence in a civil context will certainly affect the money you can expect to receive on your Oregon injury claim. If you want more info on Oregon driving laws for cell phones go to

Oregon’s 2008 anti teen texting driving law

Texting and driving certainly don’t mix like a good mixer and I recently saw a report that the 2008 teen cell phone law which prohibits texting while driving has resulted in only two criminal infractions issued through the entire state. While laws without the beef to back them up end of being derided the effect on your civil automobile injury claim in the state of Oregon could end up getting you more money provided there is real proof that the at fault driver was texting and driving. Getting injured is certainly no fun and getting a serious injury from a texting teen at fault driver is an outrage for which more money should flow to you.

 Texting While Driving: Crash Risk 23x

I just came across a recent survey which shows that texting while driving increases the chances of being involved in a car accident by 23 times. It seems that new technology only complicates things including the risk of getting injured in a car accident.

cell phone

Texting while driving is the next thing, which as supported by the survey, may entail increased crashes as reported annually by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Certainly a crash by a texting driver will look bad to a jury so any car crash clients would benefit by a lawyer who can proof an aggravated liability claim which I would argue is exacting what texting would fall under when a car crash injury scenario follows.

 Seat Belt Oregon Driving Laws

National seat belt awareness is just around the corner and its time to review what happens if you have a car accident in Oregon and Washington and there is an issue of someone not wearing a seat belt.

Prior law in Oregon was an automatic reduction of 15% liability if there was proof you were not wearing a seatbelt. Current Oregon and Washington state law is that the issue is one of contributory or comparative negligence. This means your settlement monies will be reduced by a jury as they see if and it the case settles is a matter of fact and negotiation. I have seen a lot of cases where car accident ambulance people mistakenly think the car accident victim was not wearing a seat belt when they really were. In such cases its best to get second hand witnesses in car accident seat belt issue cases to refute any inference of seat belt non use.

Seat belt do cause injury such as bruising from lap and shoulder belt. You should take photos of the bruising as bruising is usually not evident to those rushed ER doctors who are trying to triage multiple people at multiple times. Buckle up and safe summer driving.

 School Zones Safety Oregon Driving Laws

The school zone law which was passed by the Oregon State Legislature (July 2006) makes the speed limit 20 mph or less in school zones in any of the following situations (1) Anytime a yellow light on a school speed sign is flashing (2) Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on school days and (3) Crosswalks near school grounds when children are present.

Under the Oregon school zone safety law “children are present” means when school kids are in the crosswalk, waiting on the curb or roadway shoulder at a crosswalk or when a crossing guard is present. Slowing done in a school zone is common sense but the law is much needed and at fault drivers will now face a ticket that could cost as much as $679.00 in addition to facing a much stronger civil injury claim against them.

If your Portland Public School or other Oregon School District age child suffered an injury by a car at or near their school call for a free injury case evaluation so that your child’s rights can at least be protected.

Speed Limit Issues In Oregon State Car Accident Crashes

A critical issue to investigate in many car accidents involving two cars in the state of Oregon is whether one of the cars was speeding at time of impact. It is quite important, in my opinion, to always investigate the speeding issue in every car accident injury case because the eventual amount of your injury settlement may be depend upon whether the other car was going in excess of the posted speed at impact.

To determine whether a driver is going in excess of the speed a good investigator may evaluate whether the driving took place before or after the posted sign which tell drivers when the posted speed in that particular area ends. The next question is what is the speed limit then? ODOT regs provide that the speed limit is 55 unless posted higher or lower.

A good rule of thumb is always to ensure that one drives with traffic and not exceed the speed limit which is there for the protection of the drivers in the first place.

A 1987 ODOT study shows that deaths on the highways increased from 25% to 30% when the state increased the speed limit from 55 to 65mph. Some two years later there was an increase of car accident deaths of 19% whereas it even increased in 1999. This is why the speed limit is important to follow for all drivers. The higher the speed you are driving, the longer it takes to slow down for the driver in front of you.

There is always an exception on rural highways that post the speed limit at 65.

Police use many different forms to enforce speed limits. They use radar, speed cameras (photo radar), VASCAR (vehicle average speed calculator and recorder), Aerial speed measurement (aircrafts) and other speed measures.

As of today, these are the speed limits you should go by while driving:
Alleys – 15 mph
Business districts, school zones (when children are present) – 20 mph
Residental districts, public parks and ocean shores – 25 mph
Open and rural hwys, urban interstate hwys – 55 mph
Autos on rural interstate hwys – 65 mph
Posted speeds always override these speed zone standards.

The basic rule to follow is that a motorist must always drive at the speed that is reasonable at all times by looking at the other traffic, road conditions, weather and dangers that could come up.

Which these speed issues in mind remember that speed is an area that a skilled injury lawyer will address from the beginning of your injury case until the time you are fully compensated.

Worst Driver Survey 2009 From GMAC

GMAC just released its annual survey of the nation’s driving habits and the news shows bad drivers in the state of Oregon rank number 8 of all 50 states. Worst offender is New York- who would have guessed.

GMAC’s survey was given to more than 5,000 driver in all 50 states. The survey which I would think GMAC uses to adjust its auto insurance rates shows the older the car driver the higher the test score. Car drivers past age 35 were more likely to pass than those younger than 35.

Men past age 45 had the highest scores while young drivers showed the highest failures. Which gives reason to my gut feeling that young car drivers cause the most serious car crash accident particularly in the car accident cases I have handled over the last 18 years in the state of Oregon.

Washington drivers interestingly ranked 17 in the survey- must be the calming pacific mist of the Puget Sound.

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