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Vehicle Equipment Standards

Q: Does a car that I purchase or sell have to have working safety equipment?

A: Yes, in some cases. Oregon Revised Statute (ORS 815.075) requires that certain vehicle safety equipment adopted under Oregon Administrative Rule 735-100-0000 through 735-112-0000 must function properly at the time of sale. The law pertains to a vehicle sale by private party or dealer. Safety equipment adopted by rule includes seat belts, window glazing, brake fluids, lighting equipment and hitches. Air bags, brakes (other than fluid), suspension and tires are not covered under this law.

​Q: Does my vehicle need mud flaps/mud guards?

A: Non commercial vehicles (under 8,000 lbs) need fenders or mud guards (mud flaps) within 27 inches of the pavement behind the tire. Commercial vehicles need fenders or mud guards (mud flaps) within 10 inches behind all wheels.  (ORS 815.180)
 
Fenders and mud guards (mud flaps) must cover the entire tread width of the tire.  (ORS 815.180)
 
Q: How far can a vehicle sit off the ground before mud flaps are required?
 
A: For a vehicle that is less than 8,000 lbs the law states: "...fenders or mud guards must extend in full width from a point on the wheels that is above and forward of the center of the tire over a point at the rear of the wheel that is not more than 27 inches above the surface of the highway."  (ORS 815.180 (2) (c) The issue is not how far the truck can sit off the ground so much as making sure that fenders or mud flaps are in place not more than 27 inches from the surface of the highway.
 
Q: Where do you measure that height from, lowest point of back bumper?
 
A: As stated above, you would measure the height from the ground and make sure it is not more than 27 inches.
 
Q: How far are tires allowed to stick out from the side of a vehicle before you must get fender flares?
 
A: A fender or mud guard must cover the complete width of the tire's tread. This is in ORS 815.180 (1) (a). The fender or mud guard must also be of sufficient size and constructed so that it is capable of deflecting or arresting any dirt, mud, water or other substance that may be picked up and carried on the wheels.

Q: Are "Altezza" or European tail/brake lights and front marker lenses legal for street use in Oregon?

A: Oregon has adopted the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 for lighting equipment. The standard is very specific for tail/brake light lenses and front marker light lenses. The standard requires red lenses (not red bulbs) for the tail/brake lights and red rear and side reflex reflectors and red side marker lights. A separate rear side marker light and reflex reflector may also be allowed for the rear lighting system to meet the standard.  The front side marker lens lights can be either white or amber (yellow) and must also have an amber (yellow) reflex reflector incorporated into the lens or have a separate side marker light and reflex reflector to meet the standard. So, the answer to the question is in most cases after-market (non-original equipment) "Altezza" or European tail/brake and front marker light lenses are NOT legal for street use in Oregon. They usually lack the required reflex reflectors and side marker lights.
 
For more information, visit the Motor Vehicle Lighting Standards web page. (Note: the "Recalls" section.) Most of the after-market "Altezza" and European lenses have been recalled for not meeting FMVSS 108. (ORS 816.010)
 
Q: Some of the new bright headlights hurt my eyes, what can be done about that?
 
A: NHTSA has issued a report on headlight glare and its effects on the eyes: Drivers' Perceptions of Headlight Glare from Oncoming and Following Vehicles, NCSA, Oct 2003
New vehicles are in compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Manufacturers are attempting to give the driver better ability to see. 
 
Q: What about other after-market vehicle equipment being legal for street use?
 
A: When looking to purchase any after-market products for your vehicle, always look for the following labeling on the product:  
 
  • "For Off-Road Use Only"
  • "For Off-Road or Show Use Only"
  • "For Show Use Only"
  • "Check local laws and ordinances for use"

 

If the product has one or more of the above, it will NOT be legal for street use in Oregon. Oregon has adopted all of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and equipment standards and manufacturers that do not meet these standards, label their products with the above statements for liability purposes and to notify the public that the product is not to be used on the street.

Also, be very wary of products that have the following labeling:
 
  • "SAE or DOT Certified or Approved"
 
SAE and DOT do NOT certify or approve products. Manufacturers must meet or exceed SAE and/or DOT manufacturing standards to market their products for street use.
 
Some after-market lighting products marked "100% street legal" do NOT meet the federal lighting standard. You can check the website address listed in question 11 above, or contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for lighting as well as any vehicle equipment to see if the product meets safety standards and is legal for street use. (ORS 815.010)for lighting as well as any vehicle equipment to see if the product meets safety standards and is legal for street use. (ORS 815.010)for lighting as well as any vehicle equipment to see if the product meets safety standards and is legal for street use. (ORS 815.010)for lighting as well as any vehicle equipment to see if the product meets safety standards and is legal for street use. (ORS 815.010)
 
Q: Are headlight, tail/brake light and license plate covers legal for street use in Oregon?
 
A: No. Headlight and tail/brake light covers do not meet the federal lighting standard (FMVSS 108) and Oregon has adopted the federal standard. Covers alter the light output and also reflectivity of reflex reflectors and may cover up the required square inches of lens and/or reflex reflectors required by FMSS 108. (ORS 816.010)
 
Q: What are the laws for using auxiliary lights or fog lights in Oregon?
 
A: Auxiliary driving lights and/or fog lights must be used like the high beam headlight system of your car. You must use a distribution of light or composite beam so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver. Fog lights may be either white or amber (yellow). They may not be blue, bluish or any other color than white or amber.
 
Oregon Revised Statute (ORS 811.515 Section (8) states: A light other than a headlight, that projects a beam of light of an intensity greater than 300 candle power shall not be operated on a vehicle: (b) when use of low beams of the vehicle headlight system is required under limited visibility conditions.
 
ORS 801.325 "Limited visibility conditions means: (1) Any time from sunset to sunrise; and (2) Any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles are not clearly discernible on a straight, level, unlighted highway at a distance of 1,000 feet ahead."

​Q: Can an off-road class III ATV Dirt Bike be made street legal?

A: Some dirt bikes can be made street legal, some can not.
 
First Step: Contact the manufacturer (not the dealership) of the motorcycle, such as Honda or Yamaha, and find out if the engine has been certified through the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet emission standards for use on the street. If the engine has not been certified for street use, you cannot make the motorcycle street legal. If the engine has been certified for street use, it may need a carburetor or exhaust update, as some dirt bike engines don't have the same carburetor or exhaust that the street bike conversion has. Get a letter from the manufacturer stating the engine does meet street standards and what modification, if any, it needs to meet the street use standards.
 
Second Step: If the engine does meet street standards, get a letter from the manufacturer listing the modifications needed to bring the motorcycle up to street standards.  Such as lighting equipment (includes all lights, turn signals, reflectors, high/low beam indicator), speedometer, rear view mirror, rims, tires, exhaust, etc.  These are referred to as the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).
 
Third Step: Keep all receipts for modifications. You will need the manufacturers' certificate of origin, a receipt of ownership (bill of sale), and all your receipts for modifications, plus the two letters mentioned above from the manufacturer.
 
Fourth Step: Take all the information to your local DMV field office when you go to register the motorcycle. You may wish to call first to see if they want to visually inspect the vehicle for a vehicle identification number (VIN) at the time you go to register the vehicle.
 
As stated above, some off-road dirt bikes cannot be made street legal because the engine does not meet the US EPA emission standards for street use.
 
For more information, you can refer to the following publication: In-Depth Information for Motorcycle Owners on EPA's New Emission Standards for Highway Motorcycles, EPA Dec 2003
 
Q: Can three and four wheelers (Class I ATVs) be made street legal?
 
A: No.
 
ATVs that are manufactured with Certificates of Origin for "off-road use only" may not be made street legal in Oregon and most other states. Federal law for the US Consumer Product Safety Commission requires that every ATV manufactured carries warning labels and statements in the owner's manual prohibiting use on streets and highways. Those labels are required by a 1988 Federal Consent Decree with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. ATVs are not to be used on roads because of the danger to the rider from possible interaction with other vehicles.
 
Not only are there the US Consumer Product Safety Commission laws, but US Department of Transportation federal motor vehicle safety standards for equipment and US Environmental Protection Agency emission standards for clean air govern vehicles that may be used on roadways. ATVs do not meet the US ODOT or EPA standards for road use. That is why the manufacturers' certificate of origins are labeled for "off-road use only."

Q: How can I tell if my tires qualify under the law as traction tires and when are studded tires legal?

A: A "Traction Tire" is a studded tire or other tire that meets the tire industry definition as suitable for use in severe snow conditions. Tires that meet the tire industry definition display an icon with a mountain peak with a snow flake inside the peak. (ORS 815.045) The ODOT TripCheck web site has all the traction tire information you need. If you do not have web access, contact the tire dealer you purchased your tires from or call the Northwest Tire Dealers Association at: 509-735-1991.
 
"Studded Tires" are legal from November 1 to April 1. Because of the damage caused by studded tires, the Department of Transportation encourages motorists to use studded tires only when necessary. Delaying putting on studded tires or using traction tires is helpful to the condition of the highways. (ORS 815.165)
 
To view current winter driving conditions and camera views of the mountain passes any time, visit the ODOT TripCheck web site.
 
Q: When must I use chains?
 
A: Oregon's chain law applies to all highways throughout the state. When you drive in winter conditions, you may see signs telling you to carry chains or traction tires when you are required to use them.  In some areas, lighted message signs will also advise you about chaining up. Under some conditions traction tires may be used in place of chains on vehicles rated at 10,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight or less and that are not towing or being towed. In very bad winter road conditions all vehicles may be required to use chains regardless of the type of vehicle or type of tire being used.  This is known as a conditional road closure. (ORS 815.045)

​Q: What equipment does my trailer need to have?

A: Check out the Towing a Trailer in Oregon booklet.

Q: Do Trailers need lights if you can see the lights of the tow vehicle past the trailer?

A: Yes. All trailers regardless of size need to be equipped with the following lights:

  • Two red tail lights;
  • Registration plate lights;
  • Two red stop (brake) lights;
  • Two red or amber turn signal lights;
  • Two red reflex reflectors
 
All of the above lights may be incorporated into one light assembly on each side of the rear of the trailer. The lights should be mounted as far as practical to the outside edge of the trailer and as far as practical to the rear of the trailer.
 
  • Side marker lights and side reflex reflectors
 
The side marker lights and reflex reflectors on the rear must be red and can be incorporated in the tail light assembly above if they are visible from the side of the trailer.  The side marker lights and reflex reflectors on the front side must be amber and as close to the front as practical.  (ORS 816.320)
 
Trailers that are over 60 inches wide or longer than 30 feet or that have a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or more; have more light and reflector requirements.  See the following DOT site for that information as well as location for all of the above lights: Trailers: Federal Lighting Equipment Location Requirements.
 
Trailers that weight 1,800 lbs. or more loaded, need to be registered and licensed through Oregon Motor Vehicles Division.
 
Q: Does my trailer need safety chains?
 
A: Yes. The chains must be able to support the weight of the trailer and load. The chains must be crossed under the tongue of the trailer so if the tongue comes off the ball, the trailer is supported by the chains and does not contact the ground. (ORS 818.150)
 
Q: Do I have to have brakes on my trailer?
 
A: Oregon law requires that any vehicle or combination of vehicles weighing less than 8,000 lbs. must be able to stop within a travel lane in 25 feet from 20 miles per hour. If the vehicle or combination of vehicles weighs over 8,000 lbs., the vehicle must be able to stop within a travel lane in 35 feet from 20 miles per hour. Check your owner's manual of the tow vehicle to see what the manufacturer recommends. Most manufacturers recommend trailer brakes if the trailer and load weigh 1,000 lbs. or more. (ORS 815.125)
 
Q: Can I tow a boat trailer, utility trailer or car behind my travel trailer or fifth wheel trailer?
 
A: No. Only commercial vehicles can tow more than one trailer in Oregon. (ORS 818.110)

​Q: Can I have dark tinted windows?

A: No, unless you have a physical condition that requires it (see question 21 below). Passenger vehicle windows must have total light transmittance (after tinting is installed) of at least 35%. Generally, trucks and SUVs may have darker tinting installed on windows behind the driver, as long as there are rearview mirrors on each side of the vehicle. Dark tinted windows are a serious safety concern for law enforcement because they are unable to determine the actions of the vehicle's occupants. (ORS 815.221)
 
For more information on window tinting, reference the Frequently Asked Questions About Window Tinting brochure.
 
Q: What if I have a medical condition that requires me to have darker windows?
 
A: You may get your physician or optometrist to provide you with an affidavit stating that there is a physical condition that requires you to have windows tinted darker than Oregon law allows. An affidavit is generally considered to be a legal document (not a letter or note on a prescription pad) that must be notarized. Also, the tint installer must provide you with a certificate stating what the total light transmittance is for the vehicle's windows. Both documents must be carried in the vehicle at all times and provided to law enforcement upon request. (ORS 815.221)

​Q: If my windshield is cracked, must I replace it?

A: If you have a damaged windshield you may be cited for having an obstructed window. Keep in mind that the windshield may not perform as designed if it is damaged. (ORS 815.220)

 

Jeff Greiner
Program Manager
503-986-4198

Transportation Safety Division
ODOT-TLC Building, MS 3
4040 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302-1142

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