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New Oregon Law On Vehicle Collisions Raises Damage Threshold


The New Year means new laws for Oregon drivers. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports on one that affects motorists caught in collisions.

Previously, fender-benders with damage under $1500 didn’t have to be reported.  That’s been the threshold since 2004.  But recent legislation means as of January 1st, the amount is now $2500 dollars.

David House is a spokesman with the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles. He says the increase is mostly due to inflation. But there is also another reason.

“Not only does it go on a driver’s record especially if there’s a serious crash, and that it could affect their driving privileges, but more importantly, ODOT analyzes this data to see if there’s some change on highways out there," House explains.

"So for example, if a highway gets more than its share of crashes, it kind of draws our attention to it to find out what’s going on there.”

So beginning in 2018, drivers must report crashes to the DMV within 72 hours if damage to any vehicle exceeds $2500, or if one is towed away.  Injury or deaths from the accident – or property damage exceeding $2500 – also mandates a report.

Copyright 2017, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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