SALEM — A series of new transportation laws went into effect Saturday, Jan. 1, in Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Transportation in a press release Dec. 30 announced it is responsible for implementing the laws, which break down into the following categories:

Increasing safety and local control

• House Bill 3055 allows some local governments to set speeds on their roads. ODOT has the statutory authority for setting the speed limit on all roads in Oregon, but HB 3055 allows ODOT to delegate its authority for speed setting to a city or county for roads under their jurisdiction.

ODOT Director Kris Strickler in the press release said reducing speed limits in conjunction with better road design changes and increased enforcement can improve road safety of our roads.

“We don’t have to accept the loss we see on our streets,” he said. “This legislation allows ODOT to remove a major impediment to adopting safer speeds and increases local control over local roads.”

• HB 3125 allows Oregon driver’s license and ID card holders to register up to two people at, age 18 and older, as emergency contacts for situations where they can’t communicate.

With online information, cellphones and social media, there is a risk a family could learn someone was in an emergency before law enforcement can contact the family, according to ODOT.

Only Oregon law enforcement personnel will be able to access the emergency contact information.

Improving access and equity

• HB 2498: This bill enhances the safety of Oregonians who are deaf or hard of hearing by creating an option to add a notification to their driver’s license and vehicle registration card.

Chad A. Ludwig, executive director of Bridges Oregon, said in the press release this is a significant milestone to build trust and cooperation between more than one million Oregonians with hearing loss and our law enforcement.

The indicator will be voluntary, and drivers can sign up any time through

• HB 3026: Beginning later in 2022, this law benefits people experiencing houselessness. They will no longer need to pay a fee to receive, renew or replace their identification cards. ODOT will be developing rules and partnering with homeless service organizations to certify an individual’s eligibility for the waiver and provide a form to bring to DMV to apply. More information on how this program will be administered will be available soon.

HB 2985: The legislation directed ODOT to diversify specific advisory committees to reflect the racial, ethnic and ability composition of Oregon.

“To ensure all Oregonians have their voice heard in the process, we intend to apply this direction not only to the committees listed in the measure but across ODOT’s various advisory committees as recruitments for new members are conducted,” the press release stated.

Reducing greenhouse gases

• HB 2165: Rebates will remain in play for Oregonians looking to switch to an electric vehicle.

This legislation removed the sunset on funding Oregon’s Charge Ahead EV rebate program, funded through a vehicle privilege tax created by passage of HB 2017 (transportation funding package). The program originally was set to expire in 2024. The eligibility and value of the Charge Ahead rebates were modified to make the program more accessible. Electric vehicle adoption has lagged state goals, but has recently jumped with a 70% increase in registration in 2021 compared to 2020.

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