HOUSE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION

 

April 18, 2005 Hearing Room C

1:00 P.M. Tapes  50 - 51

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. George Gilman, Chair

Rep. Terry Beyer, Vice-Chair

Rep. Chuck Burley, Vice-Chair

Rep. Deborah Boone

Rep. Scott Bruun

Rep. Dave Hunt

Rep. Kim Thatcher

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Patrick Brennan, Committee Administrator

Mike Reiley, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:

HB 3252 – Public Hearing

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 50, A

003

Chair Gilman

Calls the meeting to order at 1:04 p.m. Opens a public hearing on

HB 3252.

HB 3252 – PUBLIC HEARING

007

Patrick Brennan

Committee Administrator. Introduces HB 3252. Notes the written testimony of Gail Achterman, member of the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC), submitted by Joan Plank  in opposition to HB 3252 (EXHIBIT A).

018

John Tongue, M.D.

Speed Zone Review Panel Member, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Submits prepared testimony and the report “Recommendation for Setting Speed Limits on Interstate Highways in Oregon” and testifies in opposition to HB 3252 (EXHIBIT B). Addresses the “Eight Reasons to approve Higher Speed Limits” (EXHIBIT B).

124

Jim Anderson

Oregon Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Submits and reads prepared testimony in opposition to HB 3252 (EXHIBIT C).

197

Anderson

Submits and highlights prepared testimony from Brant Williams, Chair of the Oregon Speed Zone Review Panel and Director of the Office of Transportation for the City of Portland in opposition to HB 3252 (EXHIBIT D).

230

Anderson

Notes that the fact that fuel prices are at an all-time high is another reason not to pass HB 3252.

239

Rep. Thatcher

Asks who makes up the Oregon Speed Zone Review Panel.

243

Tongue

Explains the makeup of the panel and notes that the members are listed at the back of the report “Recommendation for Setting Speed Limits on Interstate Highways in Oregon” (EXHIBIT B).

246

Rep. Hunt

Asks how the review panel process could be improved.

250

Tongue

Opines that the process was “quintessential Oregon democracy.”

258

Rep. Burley

Cites a report from ODOT engineers that recommended a higher speed limit.

266

Tongue

Answers that the Speed Zone Review Panel disagrees with the report.

274

Rep. Burley

Asks for the reasons the review panel disagreed with the findings.

280

Tongue

Answers that the review panel focused on driving behavior, while the engineers looked at the capacity of the roadway itself.

286

Rep. Boone

Speaks in opposition to HB 3252. Points out that stopping distance is increased at higher speeds, and speaks of the dangers of obstacles, young inexperienced drivers and weather conditions.

320

Tongue

Explains the “third collision” when the car stops, then the body stops, then the organs in the body stop.

326

Rep. Boone

Discusses the cost and health effects on patients and the medical system.

348

Tongue

Explains the number of head injuries from motor vehicles and their effect on society.

361

Rep. Boone

Points out that other drivers do not even slow down while passing the site of an accident.

390

Mark Koberstein

Chair, Oregon Transportation Safety Committee. Submits and reads prepared testimony in opposition to HB 3252 (EXHIBIT E).

TAPE 51, A

001

Koberstein

Continues reading prepared testimony.

047

Mike Laverty

Board President, Alliance for Community Traffic Safety, Oregon Transportation Safety Committee. Submits and summarizes prepared testimony in opposition to HB 3252 (EXHIBIT F).

121

Rep. Thatcher

Asks about the effect of highway speed differentials on traffic statistics.

126

Koberstein

Acknowledges that speed differentials are a concern.

133

Rep. Thatcher

Asks if there have been efforts to lower the current speed limit with the goal of saving lives.

140

Koberstein

Points out that the police are too busy dealing with other important issues to address the issue. Notes that the speed limit on each segment of roadway needs to be addressed separately.

160

Elliott Eki

Director, Public and Government Affairs, American Automobile Association (AAA) of Oregon. Submits and summarizes prepared testimony in opposition to HB 3252 (EXHIBIT G).

218

Rep. Thatcher

Asks if raising the speed limit would decrease the speed differentials.

222

Eki

Argues against increasing speed differentials.

247

Rep. Boone

Mentions that when driving overseas, the left lane is for passing.

 

265

Lieutenant Gary G. Miller

Assistant Director, Patrol Services Division, Oregon State Police. Submits and summarizes prepared testimony regarding HB 3252 (EXHIBIT H).

300

Rep. Beyer

Asks how much the car-versus-truck speed differential played in the panel’s decision.

311

Miller

Explains the work done on the panel and notes that there was no evidence for either side of the argument.

334

Rep. Beyer

Discusses raising car speed limits and truck limits.

345

Miller

Describes the issue and notes that it was a factor in his decision.

355

Rep. Burley

Asks about recommendations that suggest an increased speed limit.

393

Miller

Answers that any increase in speed limits will cause problems at some point in the future.

TAPE 50, B

004

Rep. Burley

Asks if a driver would receive a ticket for driving under the speed limit if the speed limit was raised.

007

Miller

Answers that if they were in the right lane and driving appropriately they would not.

015

Troy Costales

Manager, Transportation Safety Division, ODOT. Submits and summarizes prepared testimony expressing concern about HB 3252 (EXHIBIT I).

065

Costales

Describes driving in Europe and notes that higher the speed limits usually are accompanied by greater speed differentials.

136

Rep. Burley

Asks about the engineers’ report recommendation to raise the speed limits and why the speed cannot be raised on I-84 in eastern Oregon.

148

Costales

Describes the variables and elements that were considered when making the decision and notes that it was not unanimous.

174

Rep. Burley

Lists the variables considered when evaluating speed limits. Asks for criteria for road design.

193

Costales

Offers to provide the information at a later time.

196

Rep. Burley

Notes that fatality rates were higher in the period from 1974-86 when the speed limit was 55 miles per hour, than after it was increased to 65 miles per hour.

210

Costales

Responds that his office addresses the number of deaths rather than a death rate.

227

Rep. Burley

Notes that the insurance companies work on rates. Cites statistics and asks if they are significant.

238

Costales

Responds that when the speed limit was raised the average death count went up by seven.

240

Rep. Burley

Asks if road and vehicle safety has improved.

246

Costales

Answers yes, but notes that “humans have not improved” in their driving ability or ability to withstand a crash. Notes that in every state, when speed limits have been increased, deaths and injuries have gone up.

268

Rep. Burley

Cites statistics and argues that safety is good on the interstate freeways.

272

Costales

Concurs.

276

Rep. Burley

Asks if raising the speed limit five miles per hour would be acceptable.

287

Costales

Describes speed carryover to connecting roads. Notes work zones that are coming and the potential for incident.

316

Rep. Burley

Asks for an explanation of the 85th percentile figure cited in the report.

322

Costales

Answers that it means that 85 percent of the traffic is traveling that speed or lower and notes the issues as to whether it should be used.

342

Rep. Burley

Asks about the data for I-5 at Wilsonville that measures the 85th percentile for speed at 74.6 miles per hour.

348

Costales

Explains the results and the data.

357

Rep. Burley

Cites ODOT engineer Doug Tindall’s testimony regarding speed limits and wonders how it correlates to the 85th percentile.

372

Costales

Answers that the testimony is correct from an engineering point of view but does not account for other factors.

382

Rep. Burley

Notes Mr. Costales’s testimony that HB 3252 does not give ODOT the flexibility for changing speed limits.

390

Rep. Boone

Points out the emergency services in some Oregon towns are limited.

TAPE 51, B

003

Carl Thatcher

Keizer resident. Testifies in support of HB 3252. Argues that people have the right to drive at the speed they feel comfortable driving.

024

Rep. Beyer

Expresses thanks that someone spoke in favor of HB 3252.

028

Chair Gilman

Concurs with Rep. Beyer’s comments. Closes the public hearing on  HB 3252. Adjourns the meeting at 2:30 p.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. HB 3252, prepared testimony of Gail Achterman, Joan Plank, 3 pp
  2. HB 3252, prepared testimony, information and report, “Recommendation for Setting Speed Limits on Interstate Highways in Oregon”, John Tongue, 23 pp
  3. HB 3252, prepared testimony, Jim Anderson, 2 pp
  4. HB 3252, prepared testimony of Brant Williams, Jim Anderson, 6 pp
  5. HB 3252, prepared testimony, Mark Koberstein, 2 pp
  6. HB 3252, prepared testimony, Mike Laverty, 5 pp
  7. HB 3252, prepared testimony, Elliott Eki, 2 pp
  8. HB 3252, prepared testimony and information, Gary Miller, 5 pp
  9. HB 3252, prepared testimony and information, Troy Costales, 5 pp