Although Oregon is not typically a hotbed of congestion, Portland’s congestion rate has increased dramatically over the last ten years making it the 12th most congested urban area in the US last year. Although there is very little congestion in the rest of the state and the state’s highway fatality rates are below the national average. Accidents in the state are not the worst among states, but if you happen to be in one of the almost 50,000 car accidents in the state you may see things differently.
Oregon has good Highway Safety Stats
Oregon is below the national average for fatal car crashes and is really only congested in two major highway areas around Portland including Interstate 5 in two sections and the Interstate 84 interchange. Property damage only crashes make up more than half of all accidents in the state, while fatal and serious injury crashes make up just over 5% of accidents.
It is more likely for you to be involved in a mild to moderate accident by far, but of course should be prepared and knowledgeable about all possible accident procedures. All accidents in the state that involve death or injury and property damage exceeding $1500 must be reported to the local authorities with an accident report filing within 72 hours of the accident.
If you are involved in an accident in Oregon, be sure to follow the right procedures to ensure your own safety physically as well as financially. First check for injuries of yourself and vehicle occupants directly after an accident. If there are no injuries, next move your vehicle from the flow of traffic to avoid further collisions or the blockage of traffic. Next you will want to check on others involved in the accident for injuries and supply medical aid if possible or call for emergency medical help. If there are no injuries exchange contact and insurance information and take pictures of the property damage caused if possible.
Modified Comparative Negligence
As a hybrid no fault state that allows at fault judgements, in the case of an accident it is better to consider Oregon an at fault state. Even if someone is covered by their Personal Injury Protection insurance, the no fault portion of coverage, they can still make a third party claim against the at fault driver’s insurer or litigate to recover the damages.
In Oregon, as a modified comparative negligence state, any party can recover damages against any other party that is deemed more at fault, but their own damages may be reduced by their own fault percentage. So if you are found 10% at fault for failing to come to a complete stop, you would still only receive 90% of your damage award because of your assigned blame. Although blame is only officially assigned in a court of law, many insurance adjusters take this into account in their settlements. Ensure your settlement by hiring a quality car accident attorney.
Driver Improvement Program
Oregon has a different system for keeping track of habitually bad drivers. The state does not assign demerit points like in most other states. Instead when you receive traffic tickets or are involved in traffic accidents, these statistics are tracked. If you receive three tickets or involved in three accidents in any combination within 18 months you will automatically be placed on a restricted license for 30 days, prohibiting you from driving at night. 4 tickets and 3 accidents in any combination within 24 months and you will receive a 30 day license suspension. In this manner most traffic violations are considered the same weight towards restriction or suspension.
Middle of the Road DUI Penalties
Oregon provides for administrative and criminal penalties if you fail a chemical test and are over the BAC limit of 0.08%. These penalties for a first offense include minimum 2 days in jail up to 1 year, $1000 fine, 1 year license suspension, ignition interlock device installation, participation in a drug and alcohol program and participation in a Victim’s Impact Panel program.
However if you are charged with a first offense and have no other DUI charges or convictions pending and have not participated in the Oregon DUI Diversion program before you may be able to avoid some of the harsher penalties of your DUI. The program allows first time offenders to pay a fee, complete an alcohol or drug abuse assessment, complete the recommended treatment programs and pay for the assessment and treatment.
A second DUI offense or a first offense over a BAC 0.15% results in harsher penalties including longer jail time and larger fines, whereas a third offense in a 10 year lookback period results in a class C felony and even harsher and more complete penalties.