Next Wednesday (4/24/19) at 5pm there will be a hearing at the capitol on House Bill 3213. I’m asking for support…here’s why:
As a farmer you can imagine that I live in a fairly rural area. That said, I’m also only 30 minutes south of Portland, and 30 miles north of Salem. We are faced with an urban and rural collision, literally and figuratively on our country roadways from folks going through our area to get to and from work. The problem comes from those who drive freeway speeds on country roads, people who don’t know the turns in the road, or folks who don’t understand how to drive around farm equipment that is going super slow on a 55mph road.
As a volunteer EMT and firefighter I have seen my fair share of accidents on these roads. Some where folks walked away, many where they didn’t. Some were due to high speeds, some were due to passing in no passing zones, some were where people were trying to pass a tractor and misjudged the whole scenario. All of these I don’t take lightly, so the discussion around road safety from a farming perspective is always high on my list, from a rural community member it’s also right up there.
For example, a road just north of where I grew up, which is in our fire district, has seen 10 fatal crashes since last summer. Let that sink in. More than a person a month has died on that road, now coined, “Death Road”. So what can we do? The discussion brought a few of us rural community members to the idea of allowing for this roadway to be considered in the program of “Safety Corridors”. Unfortunately the idea was brought to a halt when it was realized that only state run highways could fall under that program.
So here’s the fix….or at least the step in the right direction….Many thanks to Representative Shelly Boshart Davis who introduced House Bill 3213, which would allow for counties to also handle and maintain safety corridors within the same program that ODOT currently uses. It’s a process in which a community can lobby to get their road designated. Once the designation comes, you get signage that goes along with safety corridors and also all traffic tickets automatically double in this corridor.
My hope is that this will enable us out here on the county roads to give other folks who are just driving through a second thought to their speed. It will help folks realize that this is not the place to pass on a double yellow line, this is not the place to drive 91 mph, this is not the place to go on auto pilot and not pay attention. And if they don’t realize that, then I hope they are caught red handed and hit in the pocket book.
If you’re interested in supporting this bill I urge you write to your legislator or email support testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org. And of course if you have any questions please let me know!