2011 ORS § 811.515¹
When lights must be displayed
  • kind of light
  • number
  • direction
  • use on certain vehicles

This section establishes requirements for ORS 811.520 (Unlawful use or failure to use lights). Except where an exemption under ORS 811.525 (Exemptions from requirements for use of lights) specifically provides otherwise, a vehicle that does not comply with this section is in violation of ORS 811.520 (Unlawful use or failure to use lights). Where specific types of lighting equipment are mentioned in this section, those types are types described in ORS 816.040 (Lighting equipment standards) to 816.290 (End load lights). The requirements under this section are as follows:

(1) Subject to any other provision of this section, any lighting equipment a vehicle is required to be equipped with under ORS 816.040 (Lighting equipment standards) to 816.290 (End load lights) must be displayed when the vehicle is upon a highway within this state at any time limited visibility conditions exist. The provisions of this subsection apply during the times stated when the required visibility is measured on a straight, level unlighted highway.

(2) Parking lights and lights other than clearance, identification and marker lights that are mounted on the front of a vehicle and are designed to be displayed primarily when the vehicle is parked shall not be lighted when a vehicle is driven upon a highway at times when limited visibility conditions exist except when:

(a) The lights are being used as turn signals; or

(b) The headlights are also lighted at the same time.

(3) Any vehicle parked or stopped upon a roadway or shoulder adjacent thereto, whether attended or unattended, during times when limited visibility conditions exist must display parking lights.

(4) All vehicles not specifically required by ORS 816.320 (Lighting equipment required for motor vehicles) to be equipped with lighting equipment shall at times when limited visibility conditions exist display exempt-vehicle safety lighting equipment. This section includes, but is not limited to, animal drawn vehicles and vehicles exempted from required lighting equipment under ORS 816.340 (Exemptions from required equipment).

(5) Tow vehicle warning lights on tow vehicles shall be activated when the tow vehicles are engaged in connecting with other vehicles and drawing such vehicles onto highways or while servicing disabled vehicles.

(6) When limited visibility conditions exist a person shall use a distribution of light or composite beam that is directed sufficiently high and that is of such intensity so as to reveal persons and vehicles on the highway at a safe distance in advance of the vehicle. A person violates this subsection if the person does not comply with the following:

(a) Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, the driver must use a distribution of light or composite beam so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver. The use of the low beams of the vehicle headlight system is in compliance with this paragraph at all times regardless of road contour and loading of the vehicle.

(b) Except when in the act of overtaking or passing, a driver of a vehicle following another vehicle within 350 feet to the rear must use the low beams of the vehicle headlight system.

(7) When a vehicle is upon a highway a person shall light not more than a total of four lights at any one time that are mounted on the front of a vehicle and that each projects a beam of intensity greater than 300 candlepower.

(8)(a) A light, other than a headlight, that projects a beam of light of an intensity greater than 300 candlepower shall not be operated on a vehicle:

(A) Unless the beam is so directed that no part of the high intensity portion of the beam will strike the level of the roadway on which the vehicle stands at a distance of more than 75 feet from the vehicle; or

(B) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, when use of the low beams of the vehicle headlight system is required under subsection (6) of this section.

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(B) of this subsection, a light, other than a headlight, may be lighted on a motorcycle provided that the intensity of the light does not exceed the intensity of the low beams of the headlight system. A motorcycle may not be operated with more than two lights, other than headlights, under this paragraph.

(9) A spotlight shall not be lighted upon approaching another vehicle unless the spotlight is so aimed and used so that no part of the high-intensity portion of the beam will be directed to the left of the prolongation of the extreme left side of the vehicle upon which it is mounted, more than 100 feet ahead of the vehicle.

(10) Auxiliary lights mounted higher than 54 inches shall not be lighted when the vehicle is used on a highway.

(11) A back-up light shall not be lighted when the vehicle is in forward motion.

(12) Bus safety lights shall only be operated in accordance with the following:

(a) The lights may be operated when the vehicle is stopping or has stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading students who are going to or from any school or authorized school activity or function.

(b) The lights may be operated when the vehicle is stopping or has stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading workers from worker transport buses.

(c) The lights may be operated when the vehicle is stopping or has stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading children being transported to or from religious services or an activity or function authorized by a religious organization.

(d) The lights may be operated when the vehicle is stopping or has stopped in a place that obstructs other drivers ability to see the bus safety lights on another vehicle.

(e) Notwithstanding any other paragraph of this subsection, the lights shall not be operated if the vehicle is stopping or has stopped at an intersection where traffic is controlled by electrical traffic control signals, other than flashing signals, or by a police officer.

(f) Notwithstanding any other paragraph of this subsection, the lights shall not be operated if the vehicle is stopping or has stopped at a loading or unloading area where the vehicle is completely off the roadway.

(13)(a) Hazard lights shall be used for the purpose of warning the operators of other vehicles of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.

(b) Hazard lights shall be used by the first and last vehicles in a funeral procession.

(14) Mail delivery lights may be used only while in active service transporting United States mail for the purpose of warning other vehicle operators of the vehicles presence and to exercise caution in approaching, overtaking or passing. A vehicle with mail delivery lights is in compliance with this subsection if the lights are flashed continuously while the vehicle is in motion in active service transporting mail or if the lights are actuated by application of the service brake while the vehicle is parked.

(15) A pilot vehicle warning light may be activated only when the vehicle equipped with the light is an escort accompanying a motor vehicle carrying or towing a load of a size or description not permitted under ORS 818.020 (Violating maximum weight limits), 818.060 (Violation of administratively imposed weight or size limits), 818.090 (Violation of maximum size limits) or 818.160 (Violating towing safety requirements).

(16) Fire company warning lights authorized under a permit granted under ORS 818.250 (Permit for fire company warning lights) may be used by the persons authorized under the permit while being driven to a fire station or fire location in response to a fire alarm. Fire company warning lights authorized under ORS 811.800 (Operation of funeral vehicles with improper lights) may be used by funeral escort vehicle or funeral lead vehicle drivers while driving in a funeral procession. The lights shall be covered or otherwise concealed when not being displayed as provided in this subsection.

(17) Any lighted headlights upon a parked vehicle shall be dimmed.

(18) Commercial vehicle warning lights may be used only:

(a) To warn operators of other vehicles of the presence of a traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing the commercial vehicle; and

(b) When the commercial vehicle is being used for commercial purposes and the vehicle is:

(A) Stopped, parked or left standing at a commercial or work site; or

(B) In a highway work zone as defined in ORS 811.230 (Definitions). [1983 c.338 §660; 1985 c.71 §7; 1989 c.402 §1; 1991 c.482 §19; 2003 c.118 §2; 2003 c.245 §1]