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Bill To Require Headlight Use Fails


A bill to require Oregon drivers to use their headlights at all times was rejected Thursday in the state Senate.



Rain or shine. Day or night. Oregon drivers would have been required to use their headlights on any public roadway, if Senate Bill 166 had passed. But bipartisan opposition to the measure sent it to defeat.


Some Senators said they didn’t want to give police yet another reason to pull people over. Others, like Sen. Bill Kennemer, R-Canby, said the price tag for failing to comply with the law was too steep.

“I always drive with my headlights on. I think it’s a phenomenal safety feature," he said. "I support that part of the bill. But frankly, a minimum fine of $250 up to $1000, I think, is outrageous.” 

The bill was introduced by Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, who said it was on behalf of a constituent who lives along the McKenzie Highway.


“He noticed that an awful lot of the trucks and cars coming down the highway early in the morning and late at night didn’t have their headlights on," said Beyer. "And he thought it was dangerous for them and for others.”

The bill failed by a 13 to 16 vote, and is effectively dead for the 2021 legislative session. 

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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