Bright idea? Bill calls for headlights at all times on Oregon highways


SB 166 had a public hearing Thursday morning

A person in Washington County drives in the snow. (KOIN)

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — A bill that would require Oregon drivers to use headlights anytime they’re on a highway had a public hearing Thursday in the Joint Committee on Transportation.

Senate Bill 166 is sponsored by state Sen. Lee Beyer, a Democrat from Springfield, and written at the request of a citizen.

Jeff Simons’ original complaint was specific to large trucks — such as commercial vehicles and logging trucks — and aimed at increasing safety on Highway 126. Currently, motorcycles and mopeds must use headlights at all times under Oregon law, and all states require that vehicles use headlights between sunset and sunrise, according to legislative analysts.

SB 166 would apply to all motor vehicles, though, and would require headlights be used at all times when a vehicle is driven on a highway, even during the day.

Violations would be punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000.

As of Thursday morning, the bill had received several written testimonies opposed and zero in favor. Citizens opposed called it another “unnecessary, burdensome ‘nanny state’ bill,” taxing on vehicle’s charging systems, and a potential burden for law enforcement.

During the hearing, Republican state Rep. Ron Noble asked if daytime running lights would satisfy the requirement. A legislative analyst on the call wasn’t sure. Sen. Beyer said he assumed they would be and, if not, requested an amendment clarifying that.

Read the full text of the bill here.

The bill comes at the same time as a House Bill that would limit the traffic offenses someone could be stopped for by police.

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