SB 1510 limits police stops for broken car lights

The Statesman Journal reports that the legislature is considering SB1510. See Bill could stop police traffic stops for minor violations in Oregon

From the article, “If it becomes law, the bill would no longer allow officers to pull drivers over because of one broken headlight, tail brake light or license plate light. Officers would still be able to ticket drivers for those equipment violations if the stop was initially made for another unsafe driving violation.”

I wrote a email urging a NO vote to my Representative and Senator.

Here’s part of what I said:

“As a cyclist I am opposed to any change that will make the roads less safe. Cars without lights are not safe. In particular drivers of cars with a broken headlight will have a more difficult time seeing vulnerable road users. So this bill deserves a no vote.”

You might want to contact your own legislators about this. Find your legislators here Legislator Lookup


Thanks for sharing this. Seems like a terrible idea.

I’m all for providing financial resources to help people fix up their cars to make them safe and to limit the pollution that they emit. There really are a lot of people that are totally reliant on cars for transportation that can’t afford to maintain them. But no one should get a free pass to drive around in deadly machines without minimal safety equipment or registration.

If anything, the police should be targeting these vehicles more aggressively than they currently are.

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I think y’all are bringing an overly white lens to this one, and I say that as a lifelong white person. People of color are over policed in this country and often those who do the profiling use minor equipment violations as an excuse. Traffic stops can be deadly for Black folks (among others).

A broken tail light isn’t dangerous to me when I’m on my bike, though I do have to alert drivers often that their blinkers aren’t working. I think the usual cause for that is, in Car Talk terms, the nut behind the wheel.

Much more dangerous are drivers speeding, drivers running red lights and stop signs, drivers opening car doors into the bike lane without looking, drivers on cell phones…
Do you really want police tied up telling someone their tail light is out when the officer could be addressing real safety issues?


Considering that police, at least in Portland, aren’t stopping very many people at all, I’m not sure how this will change the current environment.
Seems like there are much better ideas for Police reform that have been dumped by the wayside. Remember all that momentum during the riots? Seems to be gone now.
Is this so the politicians can stand up and thump their chest and say “see we are doing something”.
Seems like another do-nothing law.

If “broken tail light” just refers to the marker light on the back end of a car, then, yes, that is potentially dangerous to people on bicycles. It’s one less cue to indicate that a driver is turning right and about to right hook you.

If “broken tail light” also includes turn signals or brake lights, it’s a more significant cue that a driver is about to turn, and potentially right hook you.

Yes, I’ve been right hooked.

A broken license plate light means that my helmet cam is less likely to capture a plate number. So the driver is more likely to get away with something.

Yes, if I have to choose between cops handling broken tail and license plates lights versus cops handling speeding, or red light running, or stop sign running, or dooring, I’ll choose the latter. I shouldn’t have to choose.

What should happen for a lot of these violations, maybe even stop or red light running, is the law should be change so that the registered owner of the vehicle gets the citation in the mail. That owner either admits that they were driving the vehicle. Or the owner says who was and then the citation goes to the actual driver. If the citations get ignored, the vehicle gets towed, and maybe confiscated. Unlicensed vehicles get towed immediately.

I’ve always wondered, why bother going after the actual driver in a photo?
The owner of the car is the one responsible for the use of the vehicle. If they are foolish enough to lend it out to someone who runs red lights, for example, then the onus is on them and maybe next time they think twice.
After the word gets out that owners are now responsible for their vehicles (what a shock right?) then maybe they’ll be careful who they give the keys to.

Of course if the owner thinks there are extenuating circumstances (maybe the vehicle was stolen) then they can of course opt for a court trial and tell it to a judge who’ll decide.

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