A new year means new laws. Starting Jan. 1, there are some big changes when it comes to hitting the road.
Most people already know about the move over law — drivers move over or slow down for emergency vehicles on the side of the road. But starting in 2018, that same rule applies to any vehicle stopped on the side of the road with hazard lights on or showing signs of distress.
Drivers would need to either move over a lane or slow down by at least five miles below the posted speed limit.
A new law, Senate Bill 35, says drivers who end up in a fender bender with damage under $2,500 do not have to report it. This is an increase from the $1,500 threshold that had been in place since 2014.
A few other interesting laws to keep in mind as Jan. 1 rolls around:
• One of the most controversial bills of the 2017 session, which allows a judge to order someone to give up their firearms, kicks in on Jan. 1. If a family member or police officer presents the court with convincing evidence that a person “presents a risk in the near future, including an imminent risk, of suicide or of causing physical injury to another person” a judge can issue an order of protection banning the person from possessing deadly weapons for one year.
• Once the new year begins, Oregonians under the age of 21 will no longer be able to purchase any tobacco products. The state became the fifth in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21 this summer.
• The voting age in the United States remains at 18, but in January teenagers in Oregon will be able to turn in their voter registration cards starting at age 16 so that they are already registered by the time they become old enough to vote.
• If you’re getting married next year but aren’t the religious type, you will be able to skip the ordained minister and be married by a secular organization “that occupies a place in the lives of the organization’s members parallel to that filled by a church or particular religious authority.”
• Fewer crashes will be required to be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles, after the minimum monetary damage requiring a report is raised from $1,500 to $2,500. Drivers are still required to report to the DMV within 72 hours if damage caused by the crash is more than $2,500, a vehicle is towed from the scene or the crash caused injuries.
• The definition of vehicular assault has been expanded from striking pedestrians and bicyclists to include striking motorcycle riders or their motorcycles.
• Charitable or fraternal organizations authorized to operate bingo or lotto games can now pay out prizes up to $5,000 for a single game, up from the previous maximum of $2,500.