What is the Oregon Basic Speed Rule?

By Arne Cherkoss

Oregon statutes do not provide an absolute or fixed speed limit.  Instead, Oregon statutes establish what is known as the basic speed rule.

The basic speed rule provides that no person shall drive a motor vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the highway, the hazard at intersections, weather, visibility, and any other conditions there existing.

A highway includes a road, street, alley, and every public way, thoroughfare, and place, including bridges, viaducts, and other structures that are used or intended for use of vehicles by the general public.

Example of the Oregon Basic Speed Rule:

A person is driving on I-5 during a snow storm.  The roads have ice on them causing a loss of traction.  Even though the speed limit may be 65 mph, it would be a violation of the basic speed rule to drive that fast given the conditions then and there existing.  The person needs to drive at a speed slow enough to maintain of the vehicle.