Rules of the Road
Oregon’s rules of the road are found in the Oregon Driver Manual which contains information about road signs, traffic laws and other information you need to know to drive in Oregon, and to pass the standard knowledge test (for Class C non-commercial). Click here to access alternative forms of the manual, including Spanish and audio versions. |
This page provides some highlights and recommendations that are relevant to Oregon drivers.
|Cell Phones/Hand Held Devices|
|It is illegal to use a mobile communication device to talk, text or type on a keyboard while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers 18 and older may use a hands-free accessory, but best (and safest) practice is just to wait until you are finished driving to use your cell phone or other hand-held device. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that a driver use these devices only when the vehicle is stopped and the transmission shift level is in park. |
In Oregon, a person is guilty of DUII (Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants) if they drive while their abilities are impaired by alcohol, a controlled substance or inhalant or a combination of such substances. This includes many controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs, and various narcotics with or without a prescription. Impaired drivers not only risk there own safety but the safety of others, and they risk arrest. A conviction for DUII comes with many consequences both financial and legal. Drivers arrested for DUII are required under Oregon’s Implied Consent Laws to submit to a breath test to determine their level of alcohol intoxication, or chemical test to determine if they are under the influence of a controlled substance. If a breath test or blood test shows that their blood alcohol content is over the legal limit (.08 for adults 21 and over) their driving privileges will be suspended. However, if they refuse the test their driving privileges will be suspended for a much longer period of time. |
A police officer who is certified under the state’s Drug Evaluation and Classification Program may also request a urine test if it is suspected that the person is driving under the influence of a controlled substance, an inhalant or any combination of these substances.
Click here for more information on the law along with the fines and possible jail sentences.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs
Several prescription and over-the-counter drugs can have a moderate to severe affect on driving ability including sleep aids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety drugs and some anti-depressants. Driving When You Are Taking Medications is a brochure that provides practical advice and safe driving tips.
|Oregon law requires that all motor vehicle operators and passengers be properly secured with a safety belt or safety harness. Child passengers must be restrained in approved child safety seats. More importantly, the best defense in the event of a car crash is a safety belt. It can save your life and prevent severe injuries. |
For adult drivers, the safety belt should fit snugly and be worn low and tight across the hips and not across the stomach. The shoulder belt should come over the collarbone, away from the neck and cross over the breastbone. It is dangerous to wear a safety belt behind the back because it offers no protection.
|Move Over or Slow Down Law|
|Since the passing of Oregon's Move Over or Slow Down Law, drivers must safely merge to the left or slow down when approaching the rear of an emergency vehicle, tow truck, roadside assistance vehicles with amber, red, or blue flashers activated, and police, fire, and ambulance vehicles. In this case, slow down means reducing your vehicles speed by at least five miles per hour below the posted speed of the roadway. The fine for violating the law is significant, even higher if the location is within a Safety Corridor, School Zone or Work Zone. |
|School Zone Law|
|According to Oregon's School Zone Law, the speed limit is 20 mph or less in school zones in any of the following situations: |
- Anytime a yellow light on a school speed sign is flashing
- Between 7 am and 5 pm on school days
- Crosswalks near school grounds when children are present
Drivers must have a good view of the front, sides and rear of the vehicle. Drivers should adjust their rear view and side mirrors to ensure that they have adequate visibility before driving. |
Note - Side mirrors do not eliminate “blind” spots so drivers should look over their shoulder before changing lanes.
|Additional information that may be relevant includes: |
- AT&T is leading a campaign to get people to pledge to never text and drive.
- DMV compiles with all of the Oregon laws that govern vehicle registration, driver licensing and the rules of the road into a single publication called the Vehicle Code Book (published as needed vs. annually).
- Information on current Oregon laws is available at the Oregon Revised Statutes Web site.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Web site provides information on distracted and impaired driving, safety belts and child passenger safety.
- The ODOT Roadway Safety Program Web site provides useful brochures and publications.
- The ODOT Traffic Law Enforcement Program provides traffic law brochures and other media.