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Directions in Highway Safety Cover - Spring 2011 Download Newsletter pdf
[1.4 MB, 12 pgs.]

Spring 2011 | Vol. 13 | No. 1

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Oregon Examines Low-Speed Vehicle Safety

As low-speed electric vehicles (LSVs) are becoming more prevalent, the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) wanted to explore their safety implications on Oregon’s public roadways. Researchers from Oregon State University studied safety standards, operating regulations and LSV manufacturer materials from a variety of international sources. A final report, Impacts of Low-Speed Vehicles on Transportation Infrastructure and Safety, summarizes the research findings.

The report notes that LSVs are designed to be used in protected environments and on roads with speed limits no greater than 25 mph. Because LSVs are not classified as passenger cars, they are not subject to the same federal occupant protection requirements. Although the federal government has regulated the vehicle and maximum operating speed of LSVs to 25 mph, the ability to determine on which roadways and intersections these vehicles can operate is left to the states.

The report recommends Oregon amend its regulations for LSVs by limiting them to public roadways with a maximum speed limit of 25 mph and only permitting LSVs to cross higher-speed roadways at four-way stops or trafficcontrolled intersections. Researchers also encourage local transportation authorities to develop transportation networks for low-speed vehicles to connect residential neighborhoods with major activity centers.

Download the final report at

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