Traffic Safety Laws in Oregon

What are the Seat Belt Laws in Oregon?

Seat Belt Laws for Adults

Oregon requires all adult drivers and passengers to wear a seat belt at all times while the vehicle is in motion. Vehicle owners have the responsibility to maintain proper seat belt equipment. While there are a few exceptions, this law applies to most vehicles, such as cars, pick-up trucks, and motor homes.

Child Car Seat Laws

  • Infants must ride in a rear-facing child seat until they are 2 years old and reach the upper weight limit for the car seat.
  • If your child weighs 40 lbs or less, you are required to use an approved child safety seat.
  • If your child weighs over 40 lbs, or they reach the upper weight limit of their child safety seat, you are required to use a booster seat until they reach 4 ft 9 in tall or they turn 8 years old. (They must fit the adult seat belt properly.)

Cell Phones & Texting While Driving in Oregon

Oregon takes distracted driving very seriously; as such, the laws and penalties have become much broader in recent years for drivers caught driving while using any mobile electronic device.

In Oregon, a mobile electronic device is defined as an item that:

  • Is NOT permanently installed into your car.
  • Is capable of such communications like calling, texting, emailing, accessing websites, and providing GPS navigation.
  • Offers entertainment features such as music, video, etc.

Restrictions include the following:

  • Drivers of all ages are prohibited from using a hand-held mobile communication device while driving.
    • If you're at least 18 years old, you may use a hands-free accessory ONLY. This accessory MUST allow you to keep both hands on the wheel when using it.
    • All drivers under 18 years old are banned from all mobile communication devices while driving. This includes any hands-free device.
  • Texting and driving is completely prohibited, regardless of your age.

You could be fined up to $1,000 just for a 1st offense, and the penalties only get steeper from there. You may be able to take an approved Distracted Driving Avoidance course, depending on your situation, but the easiest way to avoid any of these penalties is to put your phone away while you drive.

Oregon Bicycle/Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Regardless of age, anyone riding on a motorcycle must wear a helmet.

Also, if you're under 16 years old, you must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.

OR Headlight Laws

Oregon state law requires you to have your headlights turned on:

  • From sunset to sunrise.
  • Any time visibility is reduced to less than 1,000 feet. 

While it is not required by law, it is a good idea to have your headlights on whenever you need to have your windshield wipers on due to the weather. 

Reporting Unsafe/Drunk Drivers

Call 911 to report a driver who may be intoxicated, or who is driving so erratically that lives may be in danger.

If outside city limits, drivers may also call (800) 243-7865 ((800) 24DRUNK) to report suspected drunk drivers.

Unattended Children/Pets

While Oregon doesn't have any statewide laws specifically concerning the issue of leaving children or pets unattended in a vehicle, some jurisdictions have rules covering these matters. So, contact local authorities to determine if such rules exist in your area.

However, leaving a child unattended long enough that it poses a threat to the child's safety is considered to be child neglect by the state, a second-degree offense.

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